Cheese is a staple ingredient in many people’s diet and there is a vast array of cheeses to choose between from across the globe. When asked what cheese they associate with Italy, most people would immediately say Mozzarella. This is a cheese they are accustomed to eating on popular Italian dishes, such as pizza.
However, there are many more delicious kinds of cheese from this country. Here are the top five you should try if you have the opportunity.
Originally from the Lombardy region Italy, this cheese is named after the small town of Gorgonzola where the cattle rested after trekking across the pastures. The blue in Gorgonzola came from penicillium that was found in the dark caves where the cheese was aged. In modern methods of making Gorgonzola, the mold is injected through the wheels. Gorgonzola generally has flavors of pepper and garlic. Young Gorgonzola is soft and creamy and aged Gorgonzola is hard and crumbly.
Some people find the strong smell of this Italian cheese off-putting, but hardcore Italians just love it! Talleggio is made from cow’s milk and is aged for about six weeks. The flavor is a combination of tartness, saltiness, and nuttiness. Traditionally, Italians preserve Talleggio in brine and this makes the rind turn orange and sticky but leaves the actual cheese white. This cheese is fantastic on rustic bread or accompanied by white wine.
This cheese originates from areas around Po Valley, Asiago Plateau, and Trentino’s highlands. There are several varieties of this cheese depending on the length of aging. For example, Fresco is aged for just a few weeks while Vecchio is aged for up to a year. Throughout the aging process, the cheese hardens and the flavors intensify. Young Asiago is fantastic on sandwiches and aged Asiago is excellent grated over pasta dishes.
4) Pecorino Toscano
Pecorino Toscano is made from the milk of sheep and this is something you may never have tried before. As sheep’s milk is higher in butterfat than many other types of milk, this cheese is somewhat oily. However, it is this that makes the cheese so aromatic and perfect for adding flavor to salads. It is also delicious to serve alongside olives for a snack.
5) Fontina d’Aosta
Described as being the Italian equivalent to Gruyere, this cheese has fruity and nutty flavors. The texture of this cheese means it is ideal for dishes such as fondues or grilled cheese sandwiches. Fontina d’Aosta is made in large wheels using milk from the Valdostana cows from the Valle d’Aosta in the Italian Alps.
Italy is a country with a diverse range of fantastic fresh produce to eat during your visit. During your travels, you should make the effort to sample as many of these as possible and these five kinds of cheese should be right at the top of your list.
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