Grana Padano is one of the most popular cheeses of Italy. The name comes from the noun grana (‘grain’), which refers to the distinctively grainy texture of the cheese, and the adjective Padano, which refers to the valley Pianura Padana. Grana Padano has had protected designation of origin status since 1996. It is one of the world’s first hard cheeses, created nearly 900 years ago by the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle Abbey, founded in 1135 near Milan, who used ripened cheese as a way of preserving surplus milk. By the year 1477, it was regarded as one of the most famous cheeses of Italy.
It can last a long time without spoiling, sometimes aging up to two years. It is made in a similar way to the Parmigiano Reggiano of Emilia-Romagna but over a much wider area and with different regulations and controls. Grana Padano is also made in Lombardy, Piemonte, Trentino, and Veneto.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard, granular cheese. It is named after the producing areas, which comprise the Provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna (only the area to the west of the river Reno), Emilia-Romagna and Mantova (in Lombardia, but only the area to the south of river Po) in Italy. Under Italian law, only cheese produced in these provinces may be labelled “Parmigiano-Reggiano”, and European law classifies the name, as well as the translation “Parmesan”, as a Protected Designation of Origin.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is made from raw unpasteurised cow’s milk. The whole milk of the morning milking is mixed with the naturally skimmed milk from the previous evenings’ milking (which has stood in large shallow tanks to allow the cream to separate).
Mozzarella is made around the world and varies from white balls to yellow rubbery blocks. The majority of mozzarella is made from cow’s milk and is used primarily in Italian style cooking. Buffalo Mozzarella is made from the milk of the domestic Italian water buffalo. It is a product traditionally produced in Campania, especially in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno. Mozzarella di Buffala di Campania Mozzarella di Buffala di Campania is also protected under the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin. The protected name requires that it may only be produced with a traditional recipe in selected locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia and Molise. Buratta is pasta filata cheese very similar to Mozzarella, differing only in the stretching technique used to produce it and the fact that it contains a filling of cream made from the whey. Burrata means “buttered” in Italian, and this cheese certainly lives up to its name. It has a full buttery aroma, and the consistency of very soft mozzarella with a mild, sweet taste.to.
Mascarpone & Ricotta
Mascarpone is an Italian soft cheese from the Lombardy region, it is made by heating cream and allowing the natural acidity to gradually separate or curdle it. Sometimes it can be made with the addition of citric acid or acetic acid. It has a thick, double or triple cream texture with a very high fat content ranging from 60% to 75%. It was said that this particular cheese was a firm favourite of Napoleon. The concise portrayal of Mascarpone really is just thickened cream that is on its way to becoming butter. It is most commonly used to make Tiramisu or Cheese Cake.
Ricotta means "cooked twice". First milk is heated for cheese making; then the whey is heated to ensure the solids left in the whey float to the surface, where they are skimmed off into rush baskets or plastic moulds. The fragile, tiny white lumps are milky white with a slightly sweet taste and contain around 13% fat. Great when stirred in to fresh pasta or as an ingredient for making delicious Cheese cakes.
Gorgonzola – Dolce & Piccante
Gorgonzola "Dolce" PDO is a soft, blue, buttery cheese made with unpasteurised whole cow's milk. Dolce in Italian means "Sweet". This cheese has a short maturation period of only 3 months which means that the cheese will be sweet and quite soft in texture. The cheese took its name from a small town in Lombardy near Milan, where it said to have been born in the 12th century. It has a white or pale yellow colour, with a buttery sweet taste speckled with blue coloured veins.
Gorgonzola "Piccante" PDO is a firmer, sharp, aged blue cheese made with unpasteurised, cow's milk. it has a white or pale yellow compact, crumbly texture speckled with bluish-green marbling.
These cheeses pair well with Tuscan Vin Santo or Prosecco and are often eaten as desert with pears and honey.
Asiago is a cow's milk cheese, produced only on the Asiago plateau in the Veneto fothills in Italy. Traditionally, it was made from sheep's milk but today it is produced from unpasteurised cow's milk. There are two types of Asiago: fresh Asiago (Asiago Pressato); has a smooth texture while the aged Asiago (Asiago d'allevo) has a crumbly texture. Asiago d'allevo is matured for different time periods; Mezzano for 4-6 months, Vecchio for more than ten months and Stravecchio for two years.
Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after the Val Taleggio in the Bergamo Region. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavour is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang. Taleggio and similar cheeses have been around since Roman times. The cheese was solely produced in the Val Taleggio until the late 1800s, when some production moved to the Lombardy plain to the south. Each Cheese is imprinted with a distinctive four leaf brand of the Consorzio Tutela Taleggio.
The cheeses are matured on wooden shelves or in caves as per tradition, and will mature within six to ten weeks.