5 Italian Cheeses You Have To Try
The world would be a disappointing place without Italian cheese…it really would! With an abundance of fantastic cheese to be discovered here is our guide to five of the best.
Fontina is produced in the Valle d’Aosta, in north-west Italy. It is produced using the milk from cows who are grazing high-altitude, Alpine grass. Once produced, Fontina is a soft, flesh coloured cheese that combines a buttery flavour with subtle nutty tones. Fontina is defined as a gourmet cheese and is usually combined with a crisp, dry white wine for a delightful cheese fondue. Fontina is also used in creamy risottos and gnocchi.
Mascarpone is a popular Italian cheese and is favoured around the world. Mascarpone is produced as a triple cream, cow’s milk cheese, and often displays a cream cheese texture. Mascarpone is a rich, velvety cheese that it smooth, thick and easy to spread. Most commonly found whipped with eggs to make a luscious smooth cream, and combined with a generous helping of your favourite liqueur. Add a dash of coffee flavouring and you have a wonderful tiramisù.
Provolone is a cheese less common outside of Italy but is a superb, smoky cheese made from cow’s milk. What makes this cheese stand out from others is the aging process. Provolone is left to age from anything between a few months to a year, giving it that murky, meaty taste. This mature cheese is yellow in colour, the yellower the cheese the better the flavour, and sports a firm yet slightly elastic texture, making it the perfect cheese to melt on pizza, toast or sandwiches.
Gorgonzola is an Italian Blue cheese and is made from unskimmed cow’s milk. Its greeny-blue veins run wildly throughout and provide a nice bite to the often buttery, creamy cheese. The name of this Italian delicacy derives from the Gorgonzola area, located just outside Milan, but is more recently produced in northern Italian regions such as Lombardy. Gorgonzola fits perfectly with pears, grapes and finely grated on top of salads, yet is the perfect cheese to eat alongside a fruity, red wine.
Ricotta is a popular cheese worldwide and it can commonly be found in classic Italian dishes such as tortellini, lasagne, manicotti and Italian cheesecakes. Not many people are aware that Ricotta isn’t actually a cheese in its own right. Ricotta is produced by using the whey from other cheeses, which are then mixed together and then recooked. Ricotta has a grainy texture but when used in savoury dishes often appears in a soft, solid form. Combining spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and anchovies with the cheese really brings out the distinct flavours of Ricotta, making a delightful dish for you to try.
Most of the cheeses, if not all, can be found in delis, restaurants and markets across Italy. Why not book one of our luxurious Tuscany hotels and try the delights of our flavoursome Italian delicacies for yourself.