Fresh winds from the North and warm breezes from the Islands are leading us towards another incredible discovery, unveiling other lands and territories devoted to the creation of wonderful authentic Italian products. This time, we familiarize more with the wide panorama of dairy products. Italian cheese is renowned worldwide to be incredibly delicious and varied in its flavors, shapes and aromas.
Behind a specific product, there’s always a lot that can be told and discovered; the history of a specific type of cheese can be traced back to its origins, which are often influenced by climate conditions and physical aspects of a territory. When talking about cheese, Italy could be divided into three different areas involving different regions and giving birth to different products, all distinct and particular, but each of them very unique and exquisite.
The northern area touches the Pianura Padana and the territory of the Prealps and Alps; such a wide area with incredible cheese traditions often made by using cow milk. Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, Grana Padano PDO, Taleggio PDO or Montasio PDO are just some of the excellent cheeses produced in that enclave.
In the past, the necessity of shepherds to create dairy products that would last during the cold months influenced them to make cheese that would be bigger in shape and usually have a higher fat content in order to last longer.That tradition gave us a precious legacy, which nowadays is honored and carried forward by passionate cheese producers.
The central area is surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea on the West and the Adriatic Sea on the East, having the Apennine Mountains dividing the area right in the middle. This territory is considered to be the sheep’s land. Thanks to the tradition of shepherds moving their animals across the area to warmer places during the winter and towards the cooler ones during the summer, This is where Pecorino was born. Pecorino is the most distinctive cheese produced in the area; it is made in small or bigger sizes, less or more aged, and it always tastes incredible.
The southern area including the regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania and the bigger islands comprehend much more impervious territories with drier lands. Sheep are always present, but cows are also important, stressing the culture of kneaded-curd fresh cheese like Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO, Provola, Caciocavallo and many others; all kinds of fresher cheeses perfect to be enjoyed in warmer climates.
Authentic Italian cheeses are always delicious and are enhanced when paired with other foods or wines. Aged cheese can be accompanied both by different types of honey, jam and dried fruits.
Softer and fresher cheeses are delicious when accompanied by some thinly sliced radicchio or other fresh vegetables delicate in flavor.
It’s so important to be conscious about the origin of the food we eat, therefore when in doubt, you should have a look here and read our guidelines in order to become more aware of what we consume daily.
Being aware of what we eat everyday at our tables, makes our food taste even better.
Photo credit: © Reneè Kemps