Cheeses are an essential part of Italian dining, whether you add them to your pizza, pasta or risotto, eat them as a course in their own right or savour them instead of dessert.
Probably the most famous Italian cheese, parmigiano reggiano is a subtle blend of many Italian provinces including Parma and Bologna. It’s superb scattered over pasta or enjoyed as a snack. Don’t waste the rind - soups and stews can be improved with a piece of parmigiano reggiano rind.
Made from cow’s milk or buffalo milk, mozzarella isn’t just for pizzas. It’s delicate, fresh and milky taste is a firm favourite for cheese lovers. Enjoy it with fresh tomatoes, pestos, fruits, olives, basil and tasty tapenade. It’s a delicious accompaniment to sparkling wines.
From Puglia on the southern heel of Italy, burratina is a richer cousin of mozzarella. It is less well-known, but is becoming very popular. It’s made from stretched mozzarella that is filled with a mix of fresh cream and more shredded mozzarella. Once you have tried it with fresh tomatoes and cracked black pepper you’re sure to want more.
Pear-shaped semi-soft scamorza cheese has a texture similar to a firm, dry mozzarella. It takes on its shape as it hangs and ripens during making. It is piquant, milky and creamy and is ideal for melting, baking dishes and griddling. For a quick and easy meal, pan fry scamorza with sundried tomatoes, oregano, oil and vinegar.
At any time, there’s nothing better with fresh bread or antipasti than soft and creamy stracchino from Lombardy. It’s eaten young, so it has very little rind and a sumptuously soft centre. It’s delicious Romagna - style with soft, flat piadina or with focaccia, spread on salami or fresh fruit.
As a sweet choice, mascarpone is probably best known as one of the luscious ingredients of tiramisu. Its smooth creamy texture makes it ideal for spreading and it’s excellent when slightly sweetened with summer fruits and berries.
“La parte migliore”