Italy is a beautiful country with an outstanding cuisine, and a haven for cheese lovers. Among the plethora of Italian cheeses, some stand out for their unique flavors, textures, and rich histories. So, if you’re planning to roam the Italian streets in awe of culinary delights, make sure to keep an eye out for these eight remarkable Italian cheeses. Trust me, they’re worth every bit of fridge space!
1. Caciocavallo: The Hanging Cheese
Origin: Southern Italy
Caciocavallo is a peculiar sight in Italian markets, often seen hanging in pairs like saddlebags. This cheese has a smooth, hard rind and a firm texture. When young, it’s mild and milky, but with age, it develops a sharper taste. It’s perfect for slicing over a simple bruschetta or grilling. This cheese earns its nickname “hanging cheese” from its unique aging process. The name “Caciocavallo” literally translates to “cheese on horseback,” which is a nod to the traditional method of hanging the cheese during its aging phase.
Burrata might look like mozzarella at first glance, but inside, it’s a whole different story. This cheese is filled with cream and stracciatella (shreds of mozzarella), offering a rich, buttery flavor. Spread it on crusty bread or pair it with fresh tomatoes for an indulgent snack. Dont be shy to eat a whole one… I do!
Origin: Piedmont and Lombardy
Robiola is a soft, creamy cheese that can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or a blend of all three. It has a tangy, slightly sweet flavor and a smooth texture. It’s fantastic spread on crackers or melted into a risotto, adding a luxurious and decadent touch to your dish.
Origin: Central and Southern Italy
Scamorza is similar to mozzarella but with a twist – it’s often smoked, giving it a distinctive flavor. This pear-shaped cheese has a chewy texture and is excellent for melting. Try it in your campervan grilled sandwiches or sliced on top of a fresh salad for a smoky kick.
Origin: Valle d’Aosta
Fontina, produced in the Italian Alps, is a semi-soft cheese with a strong, nutty flavor and a hint of honey. It melts beautifully, making it perfect for a quick fonduta (Italian fondue) or as a topping on your polenta.
Stracchino is a soft cheese with a mild, slightly acidic flavor. Its creamy texture spreads easily, making it a great addition to a sandwich or as a base for some creative pizza toppings. It’s a cheese that proves simplicity often wins the flavor game.
Origin: All over Italy
Caprino, made from goat’s milk, varies from soft and spreadable to firm and tangy, depending on the aging. It’s perfect for a cheese board or crumbled over a salad. Plus, its distinct flavor can elevate even the most straightforward pasta dish.
8. Provolone Valpadana
Region: Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Trentino
I LOVE this cheese! Provolone Valpadana is a semi-hard cheese from Northern Italy comes in two varieties: Dolce (sweet) and Piccante (sharp). Whether you’re slicing it for a sandwich, grating it over pizza, or snacking on it with some fruit, Provolone Valpadana adds a delightful Italian twist to your meal.
These eight unique Italian cheeses are a must try during a journey across Italy. Each cheese tells a story of regional traditions and artisanal craftsmanship. As you travel, indulge in these cheesy delights and remember, every cheese you taste is a part of Italy’s rich culinary history!