There are about 487 varieties of cheeses in Italy, including fresh, spreadable and mature cheeses, of which more than 300 are recognised as being of protected origin (PDO, PAT and PGI), 52 of which are protected at European level. Today you are tasting 16 different ones, from some Italian Regions, and different in terms of seasoning, type of milk and therefore how to enjoy them.Because of their variety and extreme diversification, cheeses are classified using various criteria, such as their commodity characteristics or the origin of the milk, which may be cow's, goat's, sheep's or buffalo's milk; or by the presence of fat in the dry matter; or by the technology behind their production method.The classification of cheeses can be made by subdividing them according to the consistency of the paste, which differs according to the amount of water contained in the curd: there are soft cheeses, semi-hard cheeses and, finally, hard cheeses.A further type of subdivision could be made according to the degree of maturation and the maturing time: in this case, there will be cheeses with very rapid maturation that take only 2 or 3 days, rapid maturation with about 15 days, medium maturation that take from 1 to 3 months, slow maturation for which the time is less than a year and, finally, very slow maturation cheeses for which it takes more than a year!
PARMIGIANO from Emilia Romagna
Its origins in the Middle AgesIn the Middle Ages the Benedictine and Cistercian monks, committed to finding a cheese that could last long, were the first producers: using the salt from the Salsomaggiore salt mines and the milk of the cows bred in the granges, i.e. the farms belonging to the monasteries, the monks obtained a dry paste cheese in large wheels suitable for long preservation.The first evidence of the sale of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese dates back to 1200: a notarial deed drawn up in Genoa in 1254 is evidence of the fact that the Caseus Parmensis (the cheese from Parma) was already known in a city that was so far from its production area. In the 14th century trade developed as far as the Romagna, Piedmont and Tuscany regions, reaching also the ports of the Mediterranean Sea.The RenaissanceIn the Emilia region of the 15th century, feudal lords and abbeys contributed to the production increase of the Parma and Reggio plains that led to further economic development.Over the centuries, Parmigiano Reggiano has not changed its production method: today as in the Middle Ages, the product is made in a natural way without additives. At the beginning of 1900, some important innovations that are still relevant today were introduced, such as the use of fermented whey and steam heating.On 27 July 1934 representatives of dairies in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Mantua (right bank of the river Po), agreed on the need to approve a mark of origin for their cheese.
CACIOCAVALLO IRPINO from Campania
It is called caciocavallo because it was the cheese that shepherds, on horseback, carried with them during the transhumance, i.e. the movement of their herds from one region to another. They would melt it by attaching it to a stick over an open fire and then lay it on bread.
FONTAL from Trentino
Fontal is a cheese born in 1955, originally and mainly produced in northern Italy - especially in Piedmont, Lombardia and Trentino - which has characteristics in common with Fontina and Emmental; the name of the cheese, in fact, comes from the contraction of the two names.
GORGONZOLA from Lombardy
Gorgonzola (gorgonzoeula in the Lombard language) is a blue cheese, produced in Italy from whole cow's milk. It is a PDO cheese originating in the province of Milan and its historical production areas are the provinces of Milan, Como, Pavia and Novara. In the last century, Novara has become the main produce.Gorgonzola takes its name from the Lombard town of the same name, where the Gorgonzola Festival is celebrated every year towards the end of September.With 4.732.715 wheels, Gorgonzola is the second most produced PDO cheese in the world, after Grana Padano, and is the fifth most exported Italian cheese in the world with 20 000 tonnes
TALEGGIO from Lombardy
Taleggio (Talegg in the Lombard language) takes its name from the valley of the same name, located in the upper Bergamo area. The production of this cheese was born from the need of the inhabitants of the area to preserve the milk surplus to direct consumption. Initially, the cheese produced in this way was called "stracchino" (strachin in the Lombard language), a name that for centuries in Lombardy has distinguished all soft cheeses with a square shape rather than a specific cheese. The term derives from the Lombard expression "strach", which means tired, and refers to the fact that the cheese was made (and some still make it today) from the milk of the evening milking, when the cows arrived at the cowshed "tired" after having been grazing all day.
TOMA PIEMONTESE from Piedmont
It is produced in North Italy on the Alps, in high places, between valleys and mountains, and then spread to the plain. Made from cow's milk, it belongs to the category of washed rinds. Maturation varies from 20 to 45 days, depending on the shape and size. If from the mountain pastures, it must mature for at least 60 days. It is a fat or semi-fat, table cheese.
TESTUN AL BAROLO from Piedmont
From cow's and sheep's milk, Occelli®, which is the producer's name, matures for a few months on wooden boards in Valcasotto and is aged in marc enriched with Barolo Docg wine. It is a great cheese for tasting and meditation. Its taste of sure personality goes well with great vintage red wines.
PROVOLONE from Lazio
It has a hard, smooth, straw-coloured rind; the paste is hard, unctuous and white to yellow in colour. AROMATIC INTENSITY AND SENSATIONS Medium to medium-high. Tends to become piquant as it matures. SERVING SUGGESTIONS It can be eaten grilled or with home-made bread. It prefers medium-structured red wines.
CACIOTTA DI SIENA from Tuscany
Characteristics: white-coloured soft sheep's cheese typically produced in the province of Siena in Tuscany. It has a sweet taste, it goes well with honey, with flat bread and cold cuts in a nice chopping board.
PECORINO OROLAI from Sardinia
Sardinian Pecorino cheeses are rightly counted among the world's great cheeses. These include two of the three cheeses with protected designation of origin (PDO): Pecorino Fiore Sardo PDO and Pecorino Sardo PDO.F.LLI PODDAThe Podda brothers' farm was established in the countryside of Santu Lussurgiu, in the "Su Monte" area in the Predu Fumu locality in 1959, when the founder, father of the current owners, moved from his native village of Orgosolo to Borore in search of pastures for his flock. The sheep raised are of the Sardinian breed, and the product processed is sheep's milk. The Podda brothers' farm is located 500 metres above sea level and enjoys a typical temperate and warm Mediterranean climate.OROLAI is a mild, non-aggressive pecorino named after the locality in Sardinia where it is produced, Orolai near Nuoro.
PECORINO PASTORI from Sardinia
It is a Pecorino Fiore Sardo D.O.P. cheese, it is very mature and tasty. excellent with honey and pane carasau.
PECORINO ROMANO from Sardinia
The use of Pecorino Romano in food has, as already mentioned, very ancient origins. It was, in fact, already appreciated by the ancient Romans who used it at banquets and during the travels of the legions. Its high conservation capacity, together with its excellent nutritional value, made it a basic element for the supply of the Roman army. Thanks to its nutritional properties and ease of transport and storage, its processing technique spread over the centuries to Tuscany and Sardinia. Today it is mainly produced in Sardinia and is the second most exported Italian cheese after Parmigiano.
RICOTTA SALATA from Sicily
The words 'Ricotta' means re-cooked and 'Salata' means salted. Ricotta Salata is an Italian cheese made from the whey part of sheep milk, which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It is milky white in colour with a firm texture and salty taste.Unlike regular Ricotta, which is loose and can be eaten with a spoon, Ricotta Salata is salted, formed into a wheel and aged for several months. The flavor is a bit saltier and the texture is still creamy, but firm enough to crumble, grate or carefully slice. The cheese is often used in salads and ideal for slicing, crumbling and grating.
GRAN KINARA from Piedmont
Gran Kinara is a hard cheese for the table and for grating, with vegetable rennet, no preservatives, no lysozyme, but above all lactose-free.Fattorie Fiandino was the first company in the world to introduce the Kinara method, which uses the flowers of Cynara cardunculus, a common wild thistle that grows wild in the mountains of Piedmont and is able to transform itself into real vegetable rennet.The use of rennet, especially vegetable rennet, makes a decisive contribution to the "zero lactose" of Gran Kinara and provides original and pleasant organoleptic characteristics.The result is a cheese that is digestible even by those who cannot tolerate lactose, with an inimitable taste and aroma!
BURRATA from Puglia
Burrata is a fresh pasta filata cheese of relatively recent origin, similar to mozzarella but with a softer, creamier texture. It was created in the province of Bari in the early decades of the 1900s and is now considered one of the most delicious specialities of Apulian dairy production.Burrata pugliese Murgella is processed manually, creating a bag of pasta filata which is then filled with a creamy filling of mozzarella paste and cream, called stracciatella.
STRACCHINO from Lombardy
Stracchino is a cheese of Lombard origin and its name says it all. It derives from 'stracc' which in the regional dialect means 'tired' and there is an explanation. It is made using milk from cows that are tired from the transhumance to the valley floor after the summer mountain pasture.