Italia is one of the worldīs largest cheese producers. Perhaps, you donīt know it because uncountable cheeses are only produced on a regional or local basis for provinical markets. Out of hundreds, over 400, are virutally unknown outside of Italia.
Still, a vast number are widely fancied and exported to the USA. Here is an introduction on two of the most popular exports.
PARMIGIANO - REGGIANO
Firstly, there is only one Parmigiano - Reggiano, though there are several cheeses called Parmesan in the USA.
Parmigiano - Reggiano has been producing cheese since 1500 in the following regions of Italia: Parma, Emilia Romagna and in a small rural part of the province of Mantua, Lombardia.
In these Designation of Origins, this cheese is produced from only 100%pasture grazing cows, and can only be produced between mid-April and mid-November when pasture land is available.
You shall know the authentic cheese when you see the name Parmigiano- Reggiano stamped repeatedly in closely spaced brown letters on the hard, shiny yellow rind of a wedge, which comes from a wheel of cheese which can weigh more than 70 pounds or more.
By law, the cheese must mature for at least 14 months before it is sold.
In Italia, there are 3 types: Stravecchio which is aged for 24 to 36 months, Reggiano Vecchio which is 18 to 24 months, and Reggiano Fresco which is aged for less than 18 months.
Parmigiano - Reggiano is an ideal cheese for grating which adds profound depth of flavor to pastas, baked dishes and soups, vegetables or salads
however, it is quite noble eating on its own too.
There are several types of 100% Ewe milk Pecorino; Romano, Tuscano and the most elite and extraordinaire, Sardo.
Pecorino Sardo is produced in the mountains of central southern Sardinia.
It takes 1,000 sheep to produce 19 large cheeses. Tuscany produces Cacio, an old fashioned word for cheese used in Toscana now called Pecorino Toscano.
On a small scale, on the outskirts of Roma, Lazio, Romano is produced. A famous Lazio province brand exported to the USA, is Lucatelli Romano.
However, the finest cheese in this genre, is Pecorino Sardo, that is exported to the USA is from the Dettori Family and it is sold in Manhattanīs Little Italy at 200 Mott Street.
Have a lovely weekend.