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Five Italian Cheeses You Need to Try

Dec 18, 2021
Italian Food

Italy is world-renowned for its extensive collection of cheeses. From soft cheeses like mozzarella to popular hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Italy has the largest variety of cheeses in the world and boasts over 2,500 traditional varieties, with approximately 500 commercially recognised cheeses!

Read our guide on AQUA Forte’s pick of the five best Italian cheeses that you need to try!

 

Mozzarella Cheese

Arguably the most famous Italian cheese, mozzarella is a soft and creamy cheese with a delicate milky flavour. Authentic mozzarella is made from buffalo milk and is also known as ‘Mozzarella di Bufala’. The cheese is manufactured using a technique called pasta filata, or the stretched-curd method. For this technique, the cheese is rested and kneaded in hot water until it turns into a soft and fibrous mass that is then shaped into balls. Unlike other cheeses, mozzarella is packed in brine immediately to prevent the cheese from drying out and it is not aged.

The result is a light and creamy cheese that can be enjoyed in a number of ways. If you want to try this cheese at AQUA Forte, we suggest you try our Parmigiana Di Melanzane which consists of fried eggplant rolls stuffed with mozzarella cheese, burrata and finished with a basil tomato sauce.

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    Gorgonzola Cheese

    A pungent cheese with a lovely blue marbling, gorgonzola originates from the eponymous town of Gorgonzola, Milan, but today it is widely produced in Piedmont and Lombardy. This cheese is made from unskimmed cow’s milk and a bacteria starter that causes the blue veins.

    There are two varieties of gorgonzola cheese which differ depending on their age. Gorgonzola Dolce is aged for a shorter time and is softer and sweeter than Gorgonzola Piccante which has a more potent flavour.

    Enjoy this cheese in a pasta dish or on its own with pears and figs. You can sample Gorgonzola cheese when you order the cheese course at AQUA Forte, an authentic Italian restaurant in Sri Lanka in Galle Fort. This cheese pairs beautifully with a strong, full body red wine or a white sweet wine like Muffato della Sala Bianco.

     

    Scamorza Cheese

    Scamorza is a Southern Italian cheese made from cow’s milk, and prepared using the pasta filata technique. Similar to the way mozzarella is made, once the curd is rested, kneaded and becomes a homogeneous mass, it is then divided into smaller balls, however unlike mozzarella, scamorza is aged. Cheese makers form the cheese into a round ball and tie a string around the top of the cheese, creating a pear-like shape. Once the cheese is tied, it is then hung to age, after which it can be enjoyed as is, but most often it is smoked giving the cheese a woody and creamy flavour. Scamorza cheese is exceptionally delicious on pizzas.

    Ricotta Cheese

    Offering a very rich and creamy flavour, ricotta goes perfectly in savoury and sweet dishes alike. This Italian whey cheese is made from sheep, goat, buffalo or cow milk, although cow’s milk ricotta is the most common. Ricotta, which directly translates to ‘re-cooked’ is the milk protein (whey) that is left from cheese making. Once the whey is heated and strained, it becomes creamy ricotta.

    As well as being made with different types of milk, there are also regional variations of ricotta. For instance, there is Ricotta Infornata (baked ricotta) a popular dish in Sardinia and Sicily and ​​Ricotta Affumicata (smoked ricotta) is widely enjoyed in Calabria. However, the most popular variety is fresh ricotta cheese, which we use in our Ravioli Del Plin Cacio E Pepe and Dolce Bosco.

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      Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

      Often regarded as the ‘king of cheeses’, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (also known as Parmesan) is a staple in all Italian restaurants. Reggiano cheese has been around in North Italy since the Middle Ages! Salty and savoury, Parmigiano cheese is packed with umami and is the perfect finishing touch for pasta dishes. With a flaky texture and rich flavour, this cheese gets better as it ages. The real Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese is exclusively produced in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and parts of Bologna and Mantua.

      Cheese is undoubtedly one of the fundamental pillars of Italian cuisine. Whether it’s eaten on its own with preserves, sprinkled on top of pasta or just melted on freshly baked Neapolitan pizza, Italian cheese can be enjoyed in a number of ways.

      Come try these delicious Italian cheeses at our Italian cuisine restaurant AQUA Forte the next time you visit Galle Fort, Sri Lanka.

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