Italian cheeses are some of the most beloved and renowned cheeses in the World. As Italian cheese-making has become a true art form, the cheese-making culture has been passed down through generations, and so too, have their unique recipes, techniques, and flavors.
Regarding cheese making, Italians have perfected their craft over centuries, creating some of the best and most beloved cheese flavors known to mankind.
We’ll be exploring the top 10 Italian kinds of cheese, as well as their unique characteristics. Let’s dig in.
Top 10 Best Italian Cheeses Explained
Italy is renowned for its vast selection of delicious and diverse cheeses, with each region producing its specialties. From soft, creamy varieties to hard, sharp flavors, there is something to suit everyone’s taste.
Here’s a list of Italian top 10 cheeses
1. Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano is a famous Italian cheese known for its hard texture, nutty flavor, and versatility in cooking. It has been produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy for over 900 years.
Parmigiano Reggiano is made from raw cow’s milk that’s left to be partially skimmed naturally. The cheese is aged for a minimum of 12 months. During its aging process, it develops its distinctive flavor and texture. The longer it’s aged, its flavor becomes sharper and more complex.
This cheese can be used in various dishes, from pasta to soups to salads. It is often grated over pasta dishes such as spaghetti carbonate, fettuccine Alferdo, or lasagna and can also be used as a garnish on soups and stews.
Mozzarella is another famous and well-known traditional Italian cheese. This cheese originated from the southern regions of Italy, particularly around Naples. It is primarily made from water buffalo, although cow’s milk is used in some regions.
The cheese is known for its soft and stretchy texture and mild flavor. It is a staple in many Italian dishes, particularly pizza, Caprese salad, and pasta dishes. It is also commonly used in sandwiches and as a topping for bruschetta.
There are many variations of mozzarella such as mozzarella di Bufala campana and mozzarella di gioia.
Gorgonzola is a cheese named after the town of Gorgonzola, located in the Lombardy region. It’s made using cow’s milk and has a strong, pungent, creamy, crumbly flavor.
It’s a blue cheese, which means it’s made using mold cultures that create blue veins throughout it. The blue veins in the cheese give it a distinctive appearance and contribute to its bold flavor.
Italian cuisine commonly uses it as a topping for pizzas, pasta, and salads. There are two types of Gorgonzola: Gorgonzola Dolce and Gorgonzola Piccante. The former is milder and creamier, while the former is stronger and more crumbly.
Mascarpone is often compared to cream cheese but has a higher fat content and a milder flavor. It is a delicate cheese that should be handled gently and not overmixed or overcooked, as it can curdle easily.
This cheese is made by heating cream and then adding an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to curdle the cream. The curdled cream is drained and pressed to remove excess liquid, resulting in thick, creamy cheese.
Mascarpone can be used in desserts such as tiramisu, cheesecake, and cannoli. Its smooth, creamy texture and mild flavor make it a popular ingredient in many desserts and a versatile addition to other dishes.
Pecorino is a type of Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. It’s a hard cheese similar to Parmigiano Reggiano in texture and flavor but with a distinctive sheepy taste and aroma.
It is being produced in many regions of Italy, including Tuscany, Sardinia, and Sicily, and there are many variations of the cheese, each with its unique characteristics. However, the most famous is the Pecorino Romano, made in the Lazio region of Italy.
This Italian cheese makes it to our top 10 Italian kinds of cheese. It’s made from the whey of cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat milk. It has a creamy, slightly grainy texture and a sweet flavor. It’s made by heating the whey leftover from cheese production.
Ricotta is a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine because of its mild flavor and creamy texture.
It is often used in dishes where milder cheese is needed, such as in combination with stronger cheeses like parmesan or pecorino. It can also substitute for other dairy products, such as cream cheese or sour cream.
Another cheese that makes it to the top of our list is Taleggio. Taleggio is a semi-soft Italian cheese with a distinctive spicy aroma and a mild, tangy flavor. It is named after the Val Taleggio region of northern Italy.
The cheese is made from cow’s milk and aged for several weeks to develop its characteristic flavor and texture. Taleggio can be used in many dishes, such as pasta, risotto, and salads.
This type of cheese is popular worldwide because of its distinctive flavor and texture. Its intense aroma and creamy texture make it one-of-a-kind Italian cheese.
This is another Italian cheese with multiple names on our top 10 Italian kinds of cheese. This cheese is also known as Crescenza. It’s a soft Italian cheese that’s produced in northern Italy. It’s made from cow’s milk and has a mild, creamy flavor and a soft, spreadable texture.
One of the most popular ways Stracchino is used is by using it in a pizza. The cheese is spread over the pizza crust, melting and creating a creamy, tangy layer of cheese.
Furthermore, in addition to its use in Italian cuisine, Stracchino is popular worldwide as a gourmet cheese. Its soft, spreadable texture and mild flavor make it a popular ingredient worldwide.
Asiago is a delicious and versatile Italian cheese enjoyed for centuries. Its distinctive flavor and texture make it a popular ingredient in many Italian dishes, and its nutty flavor and semi-firm texture make it a favorite among cheese lovers.
This cheese is made from unpasteurized or pasteurized cow’s milk. It’s aged for up to two years. Asiago cheese is used in many Italian cuisines, such as pizzas and pasta.
10. Bel Paese
Bel paese is a versatile cheese used in many different dishes. It’s made from cow’s milk and has a mild buttery flavor and a smooth texture. The name “Bel Paese” means “beautiful country” in Italian.
Italian cheeses are renowned worldwide for their incredible flavor, texture, and versatility in the cheese world. From the sharp and salty Parmigiano Reggiano to the creamy and tangy Gorgonzola, each cheese has a unique taste and characteristics.
Pecorino, Ricotta, and Stracchino are other excellent Italian cheeses that add depth of flavor and creaminess to any dish, while Taleggio and Asiago offer a nutty and sweet flavor.
On the other hand, Mascarpone and Bel Paese are famous for their soft, creamy textures and buttery, delicate flavors, making them ideal for desserts, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.
We hope the list we’ve highlighted above satisfies your cheese cravings and understanding.