Italian cuisine is regional—each region showcasing special breads, pastries, pastas, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, wines and more—products that are unique to a geographical area and its traditions. While we may not be able to travel abroad right now, these Italian cheeses will magically transport your taste buds to the different regions of Italy.
Each of these tasty selections of cheese can be shipped nationwide.*
PDO Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano is often called the king of Italian cheeses because of its versatility and popularity across the world. The pride of the Emilia Romagna region, this cheese typically comes from the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena; a few towns in the area of Bologna, and from towns in the Mantova province in Lombardy. This slow-ripened, hard cheese (which contains cow’s milk) is considered one of the main ingredients of Italian cuisine. It can be eaten on its own, grated over pasta, sprinkled over a salad or paired with preserves, honey and or balsamic vinegar.
“The cheese that’s readily available in most grocery stores tends to be younger in age and therefore milder in flavor, or much milkier in taste and texture,” says Jon Marsh, co-owner of St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop & Market in Denver. “We find that 24 months is the sweet spot for what aged Parma really should be—flavorful and perfect for grating, melting and cooking. It’s always great to have a hunk at home in the fridge, and those rinds are essential for saving and cooking when added into broth, soups or sauces for instant umami.” Prices start at $6 for 4 ounces.
PDO Valserena Parmigiano Reggiano (Solo di Bruna) 24 month
Purchase several different varieties of Parmigiano Reggiano and you can enjoy a “tasting” of different ages and taste profiles. A unique type is produced by the oldest Parmigiano Reggiano dairy in Parma (also in Emilia Romagna), one of only four members of the Consorzio di Sola Bruna (Brown Cow Consortium). Valserena grows the feed, raises the animals, and makes the cheese. “It is similar to the Vacche Rosse cheese from red cows, but a bit sweeter with flavors of candied nuts, hay and fruity notes,” says Vincent S. Di Piazza, owner of Ditalia Italian imports. “We love it this time of year paired with a drop of balsamic, panforte, honey and fruity jams; perfect for a charcuterie board that will wow your foodie friends with a new Parmigiano tasting experience.” Priced at $25 for 10 ounces.
Hailing from the Veneto region, Grana Padano bears strong resemblance to Parmigiano Reggiano. Produced throughout the Po River Valley in northeastern Italy, the cheese is made from the raw cows’ milk of two