Anyone visiting Italy knows that they’re in for some fantastic meals, and for many food-lovers cheese is foremost in their mind. Naturally Italy is brimming with delicious cheeses that will tantalize any palate, so here are our suggestions of Italian cheeses that can’t be missed.
Buffalo Mozzarella – Starting off with the basics here, everyone knows Mozzarella, but until you’ve tried the fresh Italian variety you have not truly experienced this cheese. Italy’s soft, fresh cheese offers a rich, creamy texture that must be tasted fresh to be appreciated. The most popular variety is the Buffalo Mozzarella, which is made from, yes, water buffalo’s milk. Ever wonder where the name comes from? It’s from the Italian word mozzatura meaning to cut by hand, which is how the curd is separated into small balls.
Buratta – Close your eyes and picture a one-pound ball of mozzarella filled with a creamy center and you’ve got the idea of this mouth-watering cheese. Burratta means “buttered” in Italian and when you slice into this delicacy it’s easy to see why. The soft center slithers onto the plate. Sprinkle with some virgin olive oil, chopped basil, and orange zest, and yum! A perfect appetizer (or late-night snack).
Mascarpone – This specialty is at its best when there are no lumps or grains. It is derived from cream and offers a smooth, spreadable texture that makes it perfect for desserts. In fact, Mascarpone is commonly found as one of the main ingredients in Tiramisu. It’s best paired with a nice desert wine and a gorgeous view, both of which are in abundance in Italy.
Pecorino – For those who prefer a hard cheese, look no further than the Pecorino family. Made from ewe’s milk – also known as sheep’s milk – Pecorino cheeses offer a sharp taste, are often used as an alternative to Parmesan, and mature much faster. Some of the best ones are found in Pienza where the streets are lined with shops featuring all sorts of varieties offered from all over Italy. But why settle for just one when you can try them all?
Taleggio – A more obscure Italian cheese from Italy’s northern region, Taleggio offers a rich, complex flavour. While it may be pungent, it’s not as strong as the smell would indicate. Instead it serves up a tasting experience perfect for those with a fine palate. There is much to enjoy here grated over rucola and paired perfectly with a fine wine.
After experiencing fresh Italian cheeses you will never look at cheese the same way again. Sample many of these fine cheeses on tours such as our Eat, Drink, Walk: Tuscany tour – http://www.eviactive.com/eat-drink-walk-tuscany/