Asiago is a northern Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. There are two versions, a traditional artisanal version used as you would Parmesan and a modern, industrial version used as you would use a cheddar.
Bel Paese Cheese
Bel Paese is a mild, creamy Italian semi-soft cheese with a bit of a tang to it. Varieties flavoured with herbs are available for use on cheese boards.
Bitto is an Italian cheese that can be a semi-hard or a hard cheese, depending on how long it was aged. When young it can be shredded; when aged longer, it can be grated like Parmesan.
Bocconcini cheese is small balls of mozzarella, about the size of chicken eggs. They are usually sold in tubs, packed in water to keep them fresh.
Burrini is a firm, pear-shaped, mild Provolone cheese with butter in the middle. You slice it so that you get butter and cheese in a slice.
Caciocavallo cheese is a version of mozzarella cheese. It can be used fresh or aged. It is often shaped like a gourd, and hung to cure.
Casu Marzu is a cheese made in Sardinia, Italy. It is Pecorino Sardo cheese which has been colonized by fly maggots. It has a very strong, pungent burning taste.
Fontina cheese is a firm, light-yellow cheese with tiny holes and a mild, nutty taste. When young, Fontina can be used as a “table cheese.” When old, it becomes a grating cheese.
Gorgonzola cheese is an Italian blue cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. Some versions are tangy and crumbly; milder versions tend to be creamy. Gorgonzola becomes very mild and sweet when used in cooking.
Grana Padano cheese is a hard grating cheese that you use like Parmesan. Though less expensive, it is less well-known than Parmesan which has had better marketing. In Italy, however, Grana outsells Parmesan 10 to 1.
Italian Cheeses: Types and Uses
Italian Cheeses are a huge part of Italian meals. There is no formal fixed cheese course in Italian dining, as there is in French dining. In Italian cuisine, a cheese can be served before a meal, after, or more likely during, as an ingredient, topping or garnish to many varied food items, more so than…
Mascarpone is a pale cream-coloured soft, spreadable cream cheese made from cream from cow’s milk. It’s made using citric acid. It has a light taste with a slight tang, and a rich, silky texture. It makes very rich sauces.
Mozzarella is a fresh, stringy Italian cheese made from water buffalo milk made in pure white balls. The cheese has a creamy texture and a slight fresh tang to it, but otherwise little other taste. If it has a sour taste, it is getting old.
Parmesan cheese is a hard, highly-flavourful cheese typically used in small amounts to add flavour accents as a garnish on dishes.
Pecorino is the name given to all Italian cheeses made from sheep’s milk. The rinds have a herringbone pattern which used to be caused by the cheese being moulded in presses made of strands of grass. Now, even though grass presses are no longer used, because the marks are expected, they are deliberately impressed by…
Pecorino Ginepro Cheese
Pecorino Ginepro is a specialty pecorino cheese lightly flavoured with juniper berries. It is aromatic, and is eaten in small amounts as part of an appetizer platter, shavings on top of dishes, etc.
Pecorino Pepato Cheese
Pecorino Pepato is a sheep’s milk cheese which has crushed black peppercorns stirred in. The cheese mellows the flavour of the peppercorns, making them less overwhelming.
Pecorino Romano Cheese
Pecorino Romano is a creamy-white cheese made from sheep’s milk. It’s often just called “Romano”. The aged version seems a bit like Parmesan, but grates more finely and has a sharper, saltier taste.
Pecorino Sardo Cheese
Pecorino Sardo is a sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy. The taste is a balance of salt and sweet, and is more sheep’s-milk-tasting than other Pecorino cheeses.
Pecorino Siciliano Cheese
Pecorino Siciliano cheese is made from sheep’s milk. The raw milk is curdled with lamb’s rennet, moulded and salted. The cheese may be sold fresh, or aged.
Pecorino Toscano Cheese
Pecorino Toscano cheese is a mild-tasting sheep’s milk cheese Italy. Young cheeses can be used as a table cheese; old ones can be used for grating.
Provolone is a semi-firm Italian cheese. Inside, it is ivory-coloured with a mild smokey flavour that sharpens as it ages.
Quartirolo is a soft, crumbly Northern Italian cheese with a slightly sour tang. There are fresh and aged versions.
Ricotta cheese is a soft fresh cheese. It is frequently used as an ingredient in dishes, for instance savoury pies, or when stuffing pasta.