With the highest number of DOP cheeses, Italy is undoubtedly the world leader in quality dairy production.
Italian DOP Cheeses
Not everyone knows that Italy is the country with the largest variety of cheeses: there are about 500 types. The abundance of Italian cheeses perhaps derives from the ancient origin of the real art of cheesemaking developed by the Etruscans, who passed it to the Romans.
Italy is a production center of excellence: Italian DOP cheeses exceed in quantity even the most famous and celebrated French cheeses. Here's our tips and recipes for a large selection of traditional artisan Italian cheeses, a real journey through the regions and the flavors of Italy.
Italian Cheese Board: a Sophisticated Selection
Italy is among the European countries that with the greatest number of products recognized with the status of Protected Designation of Origin (DOP), Protected Geographical Indication (OGP) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (IGT). Among them there are some of the most famous Italian cheeses, in fact in Italy each region has its own dairy specialty products and DOP cheeses, each one with its own distinctive flavors and its special processing.
For a special dinner, you can prepare a decadent Italian cheese board, with some of the msot typical Italian cheeses, with different characteristics like textures, ripening period and place of origin.
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard cheese, cooked and not pressed, made from raw cow's milk obtained from animals bred in the production area (in the Provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantua) and fed with local fodder. It is the most popular Italian cheese in the world.
The term refers to a wide range of cheeses made from sheep's milk. In Italy there are many different varieties of Pecorino cheese, but the most famous is certainly the Pecorino Romano hailing from the countryside around Rome. Pecorino Romano is one of the oldest cheeses in the world.
Burrata is a stretched curd cheese typical of the Puglia region, particularly produced in the provinces of Bari and Taranto. It is a sort of smooth and glossy Mozzarella shell refilled with cream and mozzarella pieces.
Grana Padano DOP
Grana Padano DOP is among the most famous Italian cheeses, together with Parmigiano Reggiano. It is a hard cheese made from cow's milk, cooked and aged for a long period. It has a high energy potential and contains many nutrients, for this reason it is a recommended food for children, adolescents, pregnant women, athletes and the elderly.
Fontina is a semi-fat cheese produced in the Valle d'Aosta region. The region's flowers, water and herbs give a unique flavor and aroma to the milk and, consequently, to the cheese.
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP
Buffalo Mozzarella was awarded the DOP status in 1996. It is a fresh stringycheese known and renowned throughout the world.
It is one of the oldest and most characteristic from Southern Italy. The most accepted theory about the origin its name derives from the habit of hanging the cheeses, in pairs, at the turn of wooden poles, arranged near the fire during the ripening.
Gorgonzola DOP is a soft cheese characterized by blue and green veins, due to the introduction of molds into the cheese paste, produced with pasteurized whole cow's milk in Lombardy. It is available in two variants: Piquant Gorgonzola, the spicy type available in small and medium wheels, and Gorgonzola Dolce, creamy and available in great wheels.
Main image: Italian Cheese, Grana Padano, CC BY-ND 2.0