Behind every cheese there is a meadow, of varying green under a varying sky. There are different herds with their stalls; And transhumance;There are secrets of works transmitted over the centuries . . . Italo Calvino
One of the fatal charms of Italy is the food, subset cheese. From Asiago to Unriaco Prosecco the textures, flavors and versatility of Italian cheese make it one of the food gods in the pantheon of gastronomy and Calvino’s quote seems to be the prefect reason to learn about the many varieties and wonders of Italian cheese. Cheese like every handcrafted food we eat is a reflection of the land and the artisan’s hand – small producers and generational families committed to preserving and protecting a culinary and cultural tradition and heritage. Something we often forget about the food we eat today.
Here are a few suggestions for an Italian cheese board. Allow about an ounce to an ounce and a half of cheese per person. Aged cheese should be removed from the refrigerator an hour before serving. Fresh cheese should remain cold. Serve with regional cured meats like prosciutto accompanied by an Italian mostarda, roasted peppers, cracked olives (olive schiacciate), warm crusty bread and an Italian aperitivo or wine.
I’m also including a link to a SlideShare presentation that I have given in the past about Italian cheese. If you like food, animals, Italy and the backstory behind what you eat, you might enjoy it. The entire slideshow takes about 5 minutes to view. It may raise your interest in the gastronomic vocabulary of the cheese you eat and help you discover new and interesting ways to use Italian cheese.
Parmigiano Reggiano with Aged Balsamico,
Pecorino Toscano with Pears and Chestnut Honey