Italian Cheese: something for everybody
Italy has a long tradition of cheesemaking. It is said that the technique of aging cheese began in Ancient Rome before spreading across Europe. Perhaps you’re familiar with iconic hard Italian cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano, asiago, or aged pecorino. This is only a fraction of the best Italian cheese types out there!
Italian cheeses come in a fast array of typs, from pillow-y soft curds (like ricotta or mascarpone) to spectacularly runny, stinky cheeses that you may have thought only came from France. (Seriously—have you tried taleggio!?) Read More
What makes Italian cheese different?
With hundreds of varieties being produced across the country, it’s clear that cheese is an iconic and thriving industry in Italy. Some are even protected by the Italian government. These special cheeses, classified as Denominazione di Origine Protetta, (or DOP, as it’s commonly called,) are only allowed to bear their name if it’s produced at its place of origin. This means that if you buy something labeled, say, fontina, then it is legally obligated to have been produced in the Aosta Valley.
DOP or not, Italian cheese is always special because it’s made with high-quality milk. Whether that milk is from a cow, buffalo, sheep or goat all depends on the cheese and the traditions surrounding it.
What are the different types of Italian cheese?
Sheep Milk Cheese
- Pecorino is among the finest varieties of cheese in the world. There are six types of pecorino available, all with varying ages and techniques. Perhaps the most famous is the salty, aromatic treat; Pecorino Romano.
Cow’s Milk Cheese
- Parmigiano-Reggiano is perhaps the most famous—and ubiquitous—of Italian cheeses. It’s an aged, hard Italian cheese that can be used in hundreds of ways. Though many are most familiar with Parmigiano-Reggiano grated or shaved over a bed of pasta or salad, this umami-laden cheese is the star or secret ingredient in a litany of other dishes. For example, throw a spare parmesan rind into your next soup or sauce for a deep, savory flavor.
- Grana Padano has been produced in Italy for nearly 1,000 years and has DOP status. It is a hard, aged cheese with distinct, flavorful crystals.
- Fontina is available both young and aged. Young fontina is fragrant, soft and ideal for melting, while, once aged, it’s a beautiful addition to a cheeseboard.
- Gorgonzola is a pungent, blue-veined cheese that goes well in everything from salads to dessert boards.
- Provolone is a stretch-curd cheese with a mild flavor and soft texture. In Italy, it’s often smoked. In the US, it’s a sandwich staple.
- Taleggio is a soft-washed, pungent smelling cheese. It has an incredible savory flavor, especially sunk into a hunk of crusty Italian bread.
Buffalo Milk Cheese
- Mozzarella can be made in a variety of ways. In fact, it’s one of the easiest cheeses to make at home! However, if you’re after the very best, we recommend going straight to the source and trying Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP. It’s creamy texture and delicate flavor is a different creature entirely from the shredded stuff you see at the grocery store.
- Stracciatella di Bufala is another spectacular buffalo milk cheese, which has a distinct stringy, stretched texture. It is often mixed with cream and stuffed inside a ball of mozzarella as the indulgent favorite, burrata.
Goat Milk Cheese
- Caprino, whose name derives from the word for goat, comes in both fresh and aged forms. It is sometimes preserved in olive oil.
Where can I buy Italian cheese online?
Want to find the best Italian cheese? Lucky for us, it doesn’t take an expensive plane ticket to Italy to try them all! Lots of formaggio is imported around the world, including to the USA. Now, it’s possible to buy Italian cheese online. At Supermarket Italy, foodies and cheese lovers alike can find gorgeous hard Italian cheese at competitive prices. We’re proud to supply food lovers with a wide variety of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grana padano, pecorino Romano and other Italian cheeses in a selection of sizes for every need. We even have pre-grated and shaved versions of many of your favorites for the foodie looking to shave some time off their prep time.