Produced in numerous areas, provinces, and small villages—from the north to the south—the most effective Italian PDO cheeses are made based on conventional manufacturing and processing strategies handed down over generations.
“Italy is a unprecedented place. Its varied ecosystems and its wealthy number of landscapes translate into an unimaginable array of culinary treasures, significantly cheeses,” says Genny Nevoso, Government Director of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West.
Customers may be assured of the standard and authenticity of the 55 PDO Italian cheeses as a result of they carry the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) designation from the European Union.
“Every tells a narrative courting again 1000’s of years in time,” says Nevoso. “Italian cheeses are so intrinsically related to their territory, their native assets, and local weather. It is like touring by your palate at each chunk,” she provides.
These versatile Italian imports may be loved with wine earlier than or after dinner, integrated into recipes for appetizers, predominant dishes, and desserts—or bought as vacation items for meals fanatic buddies, household, and colleagues. Think about gifting a cheese that was produced in the exact same place somebody you understand visited, was born, or has household ties.
Hyperlinks for on-line purchases are under, however many of those cheeses may be sourced nearer to residence if you’re lucky to have a neighborhood cheesemonger, specialty grocer, or Italian salumeria in your space.
Be a part of us on this culinary tour of a few of the most scrumptious regional cheeses of Italy! Buon appetito!
Castelmagno is a cylinder-shaped, semi-hard, semi-fat blue cheese comprised of cow’s milk, with a small quantity of added sheep or goat’s milk. To ensure its authenticity, the milk utilized in its manufacturing should come from cities protected by the PDO designation: Castelmagno, Pradleves, and Monterosso Grana within the province of Cuneo, Piemonte. The cheese is aged two to 5 months to acquire its conventional taste.
Castelmagno is dense, virtually crumbly in texture, and varies in shade from ivory white to pale yellow, with bluish-green veins of penicillium molds. The rind is reddish yellow, which turns wrinkly and brownish because the cheese ages. Its style additionally will get sharper and extra intense with time. This cheese pairs superbly with honey and a glass of Barolo wine.
Taleggio PDO is available in squares and varies in shade from white to straw yellow. The pinkish crust is delicate and skinny with greyish or mild sage-green mildew. The cheese is compact and will get softer and extra buttery (like Brie) as you get nearer to the rind. After ripening, it’s crumbly within the heart.
Taleggio has a candy taste with a barely bitter trace and, at instances, a truffle aftertaste. It’s typically an ingredient in lots of predominant dishes, together with meat-based ones and in pasta dishes, gnocchi, pizza, and crêpes. It pairs exceptionally nicely with glowing Franciacorta wines and Trentodoc.
Piave PDO is a tough, cooked-curd cow-milk cheese with a compact texture and an elastic construction that crumbles simply with getting old. Not less than 80% of the milk is produced by breeds of cattle typical in its manufacturing zone: Bruna Italiana (Italian Brown), Pezzata Rossa Italiana (Italian Purple Noticed), and Frisona Italiana (Italian Friesian or Holstein).
Piave PDO is produced solely within the Province of Belluno within the area of Veneto. The milk used for the manufacturing of Piave PDO comes solely from the province of Belluno, in an space bordering the Dolomite Mountains Nationwide Park. An objectively demanding territory to farm.
This cheese is gentle when younger. Like Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, its taste modifications and intensifies with time, turning into fruitier and richer in style. A preferred grating cheese, it turns into extra meltable because it ages. Piave pairs significantly nicely with Spumante Garda DOC wines.
Pecorino Toscano PDO
Pecorino Toscano has a protracted historical past that Pliny the Elder talked about in Naturalis Historia (AD77). At this time, as previously, this cheese performs a outstanding position within the dairy traditions of Tuscany. The milk for this cheese is produced in Grosetto (Tuscany) and some neighboring municipalities in Lazio and Umbria.
FRESH PECORINO TOSCANO: Pecorino Toscano is produced solely with sheep’s milk from pastures within the space of origin (as required by the manufacturing laws). Beneath its pale-yellow rind, this glorious cheese has a candy style and a milky perfume when recent. With getting old, its aroma turns into extra intense.
AGED PECORINO TOSCANO: This semi-hard cheese should be aged for at the least 120 days however could also be aged for as much as a 12 months. It may be acknowledged by its cylindrical form and by the fire-branded PDO brand on the rind. The cheese is pale straw yellow in shade with the distinctive aroma of dried fruit and hay (these notes may be elevated by ripening the cheese longer). The cheese has some irregular and well-distributed holes and a skinny yellow rind that’s uniform, easy, and compact.
These cheeses are sometimes used grated over salads, served with figs, and pairs nicely with crimson wines like Chianti, Brunello, and Barbera d’Alba.
Asiago Pressato, also referred to as Asiago Fresco or “recent Asiago,” is produced from complete, pasteurized cow’s milk from cattle that graze in low-lying areas of the Asiago Plateau (in Vicenza, Trento, and different elements of Padua and Treviso). The milk is heated along with enzymes to assist it coagulate right into a curd that’s “pressed” (therefore the title pressato) right into a mildew. After wrapping and brining, it’s left to age for 20 to 40 days. The ensuing cheese is semi-soft, white, or barely yellowish, with a creamy and easy texture and huge holes. It has a fragile, delicate, and candy style with the aroma of recent milk.
Its cousin, Asiago d’Allevo is produced utilizing uncooked milk from Pezzata Nera and Bruno Alpina cows that graze in larger pastures and is comprised of a combination of complete milk and skim milk. The milk is heated, reworked into curd, and pressed into spherical molds earlier than it’s salted and aged. There are three completely different getting old durations for Asiago d’Allevo: Asiago Mezzano (4 to six months), Asiago Vecchio (10 to 16 months), and Asiago Stravecchio (15 or extra months). The longer the cheese ages, the more durable, extra yellow, and extra intensely flavored it turns into. Asiago Mezzano has a candy style, whereas the Vecchio one is extra aromatic and bitter. Asiago Stravecchio is essentially the most intense with a barely spicy taste.
Asiago PDO may be eaten by itself or served with chilly cuts. It’s also typically loved after dinner with recent fruits (like cherries or grapes) and/or with honey, jam or chutneys. It pairs nicely with glowing Trentodoc from Trentino.
Pecorino Crotonese PDO
Pecorino Crotonese PDO comes from the village of Crotone within the Marchesato space of Calabria. This semi-hard cheese has a young and candy texture, is usually white or barely straw yellow, and has a skinny rind that normally exhibits the imprint of the basket that incorporates it. The flavour is intense and barely spicy. When chopping a wedge, you’ll be able to scent sheep milk, in addition to hay, ripe discipline herbs. and hints of hazelnut and smoke.
The cheese pairs nicely with honey, bread, pasta with crimson sauces, and daring, crimson wines like Barolo from Piemonte.
Pecorino Sardo PDO
There are two forms of Pecorino Sardo PDO, Dolce and Maturo. Each are cylindrically formed and made with 100% sheep’s (ewe) milk. The manufacturing of those cheeses is restricted to the area of Sardinia. The PDO label has a inexperienced mark for the Dolce selection and blue one for the Maturo.
Pecorino Sardo PDO Dolce is semi-soft, white in shade, and has a straw yellow crust. The cheese is fragrant with a subtly acidic taste. It pairs properly with a dry white, full-bodied wine like Vermentino produced in Sardinia and Liguria.
Pecorino Sardo PDO Maturo has a sharper, extra intense style and a barely granular texture. It tends to be straw yellow, with a yellow or brown rind. Glorious when grated over pasta or rice dishes, this selection pairs nicely with dry crimson wines like a Brunello di Montalcino.
Fiore Sardo PDO
Made solely in Sicily from 100% sheep’s (ewe) milk, Fiore Sardo PDO is a superb desk cheese with a definite, subtly acidic, and piquant taste. The cheese may be white or straw yellow, and is usually recognizable by its brown or grey thick, inflexible, and furrowed crust.
Consumed recent, it makes a scrumptious appetizer served sliced or diced, typically paired with ash-roasted potatoes or with a slice of bread. Its additionally used as an ingredient in conventional desserts. It pairs nicely with Sardinian crimson wines like Malvasia di Bosa D.O.C.
Parmigiano Reggiano PDO Vacche Rosse (Purple Cow)
Produced between the Po and Tyrrhenian Rivers within the province of Emilia Romagna, this cheese is without doubt one of the oldest, with a historical past courting again to the Benedictine monks. It’s made with milk from Vacche Rosse, a uncommon, heritage breed of crimson cows that just about went extinct. These cows produce one-third much less milk than the Holstein selection however their milk works higher within the cheesemaking course of.
Straw yellow in shade (as a result of the cows eat hay fairly than grass), the cheese presents a candy, nutty, delicate style with an intense aroma. It could solely be bought after 24 months of getting old (in comparison with conventional Parmigiano Reggiano that may be bought after 12 months). One other distinction: It’s also stated to be simpler to digest. Typically used as a grating cheese, it provides taste to risotto, pasta, soups. and salads or may be eaten by itself on a charcuterie board. It may be paired with both nonetheless or glowing white wines or medium physique reds.
Gorgonzola Dolce PDO
Made with complete cow’s milk, this cheese from Lombardy is delicate, blue and buttery. It has blue and inexperienced veining and a grey, crumbly rind that’s pure however inedible. It’s known as “dolce” as a result of it’s sweeter and creamier than aged Gorgonzola.
It’s scrumptious as an expansion on bread or crostini, particularly with some figs or honey on high. On an aperitivo platter, it offers a pleasant counterpoint to laborious cheeses. It pairs nicely with each reds and whites.
Word: With appreciation to Genny Nervoso of Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, Mathilde Van Tulder of Sopexa, and Sara Massarotto of Eataly for serving to curate this checklist and sharing their experience.