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Italian Cheese

Italy has a great variety of cheese, ranging from fresh, mild creations like mozzarella to aged,
hard cheeses with very mature flavor, such as Parmesan.  All types of milk are used, including
sheep, goat, and buffalo.  Italian cheeses can be diviided into four categories: hard semi-soft,
soft, and fresh.  Many Italian cheeses are eaten at different stages of maturity.
Italian Cheese Guide
Most Italian cheeses can be be eaten on their own and
used for cooking.  This guide describes some of Italy's best
known and most loved cheeses.
Ricotta Cheese
This deliciously creamy cheese, pronounced boor-RAH-tah, is a specialty of Southern Italy, especially the regions of Puglia, Campania, and Basilicata.

Read more ...
Parmigiano - Reggiano
Real Parmigiano-Reggiano can only be made in a defined region of northern Italy that includes the counties of Parma and Reggio Emilia in Emilia-Romagna.

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The word ricotta literally means 'recooked',
and it describes the cheese made when
whey, the watery residue from the making
of another cheese, is cooked again.

How to make homemade ricotta >>
Creating a Cheese Tray
A cheese tray with various accompaniments is wonderful as a light lunch or dinner served with wine or beer.   Also think of serving a cheese tray for a small gathering of friends before or after attending a special event.

Creating a Cheese Tray  >>
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Always wrap a soft cheese in parchment or
wax paper; rewrap it in a new piece after each
use to prolong freshness.  These breathable
materials prevent mold-causing moisture
from collecting on the surface without drying it
out.  Only after it's wrapped should you put the
cheese in a plastic bag or plastic wrap.  Hard
cheeses, such as Parmesan, can be stored
directly in plastic wrap.  Because of their low
moisture content, hard cheeses aren't at as
much risk of drying out. 

Store cheese in the vegetable crisper area of
your refrigerator.  This area is warmer than
the rest of the fridge but still cool and dry
enough.  The flavor of cheese constantly
evolves as it ages, even after you bring it
home.  Very cold temperatures will stall its
flavor development, while too much heat or
humidilty will encourage bacterial growth,
leading to mold.
This multipurpose serving bowl is ideal
for serving Parmesan cheese at the
table.  It also works great for storing salt
on your counter-top, serving sugar for
your coffee, cranberry sauce for your
turkey, chocolate sprinkles for your ice
cream, Jalapeno peppers and salsa for
your Mexican dishes, and condiments on
your dining and buffet table.
Bocconcini, meaning
little mouthfuls in
Italian, are the
smallest form of
creamy, fresh
mozzarella.  The
cheese is commonly
packaged in water or
whey but can
sometimes be found
marinated in olive oil
and herbs.  Serve
bocconcini in salads,
as an addition to an
antipasto platter, on
toothpicks with grape
tomatoes and a basil
leaf, wrapped with
prosciutto or with
cubes of salami or
mortadella for an
easy hors d' oeuvre.
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