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A Guide to Italian Cheeses

Few things are more decadent than a fine cheese, and the Italians have the market cornered on high-quality, incredibly diverse specimens. From a sweet, soft cheese that would pair well with dessert to a hard, spicy slice that would bring an edge to charcuterie, the range of Italian cheeses is wide—and fascinating. Let’s look at the different types of Italian cheese that one can find and enjoy!

Burrata

This almost-liquid cheese is most usually found knotted up into small balls; placing them atop hot dishes and cutting them open just before serving, much as one might a poached egg, is the most indulgent way to enjoy. Burrata is mild and creamy, making it a fantastic pairing with sharp, salty foods and crisp drinks.

Mozzarella

Light, creamy, and exceedingly popular in pizza restaurants, Mozzarella was initially made from buffalo milk—however, its cow-milk equivalent is a similarly salty delight. You can find Mozzarella in many forms, from small balls made for snacking and salads to bricks for slices. Pair with tomatoes and basil for a crunchy, refreshing dish. 

Stracciatella

As the cheese that most famously bridges the gap between hard and soft varieties, Stracciatella is a soft yet formed cheese which is often served straight out of the bowl, dolloped onto pasta or pizza, then drizzled with olive oil. It melts appealingly and adds visual flair as well as a rustic edge to any dish it elevates.

Gorgonzola

Gorgonzola is most people’s introduction to aged, bold cheeses—and there’s a good reason for that! As the most popular blue cheese, Gorgonzola is often found in salads and pasta because of its proclivity towards delicious oozing when served at room temperature. Its trademark color and flavor make it an adventure for some—but one well worth the journey.  

Taleggio

With one of the most pungent smells attached to any cheese, Taleggio can be repugnant to some—but don’t let its sharp aroma turn you away! The mild, firm flavor and texture of this Italian cheese go well with carbohydrates: Melt it into a rich sauce for polenta or pasta, and you definitely won’t be disappointed.

Final Thoughts

For the authentic Italian cheese experience, you can’t just go to any supermarket. Boston’s Little Italy neighborhood has cheese shops that feel 100% Italian—and have the gorgeous cheeses above to prove it. Stop by Rina’s Pizzeria and experience our cheesy pizzas and paninis!

 

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