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the basic cheeses:

asiago: a cow's milk cheese from the Veneto. A sharp flavor, excellent in sauces.

fontina d'aosta: an ancient cheese from the Valle d'Aosta. A mild, frequently pungent, semi-soft cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk. Melts easily.

gorgonzola: rich, blue-veined cow's milk cheese from Lombardy. Hard to describe the heavenly flavor and aroma of this superb cheese, which is the major ingredient in some very special sauces.

grana padano: a grainy-textured cheese like parmigiano. A part skim-milk cheese, that replaces parmigiano in its native region in the Po valley.

mozzarella: the more freshly made, the better, best if packed in water. Properly, it should be made from the milk of water buffalo. When made from cows milk, as it is most frequently, it is actually fior di latte. But it all works.

parmigiano reggiano: the classic, all-purpose cheese, only from Parma, and should come from a portion of a wheel, and then freshly grated at the moment of use.

pecorino romano: all of the peccorinos are made from sheep's milk. Generally hard, it ages quickly. Romano is best for grating, not for the table.

pecorino sardo: from Sardinia, very piquant. Should not be kept around too long.

pecorino siciliano: can be eaten at the table almost immediately after being made. Hardens later.

pecorino toscano: probably the most elegant of the pecorinos. It also varies by the specific Tuscan region from which it comes. Can always be a table cheese as well as for grating. That from the Pienza region is most famous.

ricotta: recooked -- taking the whey left from making another cheese, and re-cooking it. Made from cow's milk generally. Milk-white, soft and mild in taste.


bitto: soft cow's milk cheese from Lombardy.

bra: a strong, firm cheese from Piedmont.

caciocavallo: "horse cheese" - a firm, sharp cow's milk cheese popular in southern Italy.


canestrato: "big basket". A ewe's milk cheese, generally pressed into a wicker basket. Puglia and Sicily.

caciotta (casciotta): a softy fresh cheese made from the whey of ewe's milk cheese. Campania.

castelmagno: a sharp, blue-veined cheese made from cow's milk. Piedmont.

fiore sardo: a pecorino cheese from Sardinia.

formai de mut: a cylindricfal, semi-cooked full-fat semi hard cheese of whole cow's milk. From Bergamo and vicinity.

Lagrein: a cow's milk cheese from northeastern Italy -- the Dolomites. It is steeped in red wine, garlic, pepper and other seasonings for several days.

montasio: a mild cow's milk cheese from the Veneto. Commonly a table cheese.

mozzarella di bufala campana: the specific mozzarella made from the milk of water buffalo.

murazzano: a cheese from Piedmont, from mixed sheep and cow's milk. Can be aged from just a few weeks to a lot longer. A crumbly texture and flavor not unlike Parmesan.

provolone: a sharp, spicy cow's milk cheese, very aromatic. Made in southern Italy, and usually with a hard wax rind. dolce is a sweeter version.

quartirolo lombardo: smooth, uncooked, mild and soft cow's milk cheese, from parts of Lombardy. Shaped in a square. (also milan stracchino).

ragusano: a kind of provolone, a cow's milk cheese made in Ragusa, Sicily. Comes in small cushions tied with strings.

raschera: a hearty cow's milk cheese from Piedmont.

raveggiolo: a tangy fresh cheese, from goat, sheep, or cow. Campania.

robiola di roccaverano: a soft, creamy cow's milk cheese, from the village Robbio in Piedmont. Can also be made from goat's or ewe's milk, or a combination.

spressa della Giudicarie: a semi hard cheese from Trento-Alto Adige, one of the oldest Alpine cheeses. Mild, delicate and sweet when young.

stracchino; this is a general term, for a cow's milk cheese made from cow's milk mixed with milk of the night before. Gorgonzola, taleggio and robiola are stracchino cheeses.

squaquerone: very soft and tangy cow's milk cheese, used in ragu in the Boilogna region.

taleggio: a wonderful table cheese: soft, buttery, from cow's milk. Made in the taleggio valley near Bergamo.

toma piemontese: a smooth, firm cow's milk cheese. Nearest to the famous alpine cheeses

valle d'aosta fromadzo: a cow's milk cheese, with maybe a touch of goat's milk. Pleasant, milky aroma, fragrant with a slightly salty taste. From the valle d'Aosta (as is fontina).

valtellina casera: semi-skimmed cows milk, cylindrical semi-cooked semi sweet cheese. Sweet taste with a touch of dried fruit. Good table cheese.



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