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Italian Cheese Please??? Tell Me Your Favorite Italians....

I would love to know what some of your favorites are. Types that I've tried have been pretty much limited to Pecorino Romano DOC, Locatelli Romano, Reggianno Parm and an aged Asiago. Would love some recs on other Pecorinos (there are so many to chose from), Gorgonzolas, softer type Italians, and anything else you liked. One that really caught my interest was a Parm Reggiano Vacche Rosse. Has anyone tried this particular type? Any recs on a good sharp Provolone? The only ones I've tried are tasteless US varieties. Thanks!

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  1. Here's some I like:
    http://www.artisanalcheese.com/Italy/...

    But frankly, I never understand these posts. I know nothing about you, nor you of me, so how can I know what you would like? Hard? Soft? Cow milk? sheep? Sheep and goat mixed. Washed rind? See what I'm saying?

    They're all pretty darn delicious in their own right.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thegforceny

      I love bold, strong flavors. (Maybe not as available in an Italian cheese) As far as type...cow, sheep, goat...it doesn't matter. There really has never been a cheese I didn't like. Love some more than other!!!

      1. re: thimes

        Taleggio also, when it's nice and rotten and stinky.

        1. re: Veggo

          The smell of taleggio knocks you in the nose like a boxer's fist, but the flavor is remarkably mild and tangy. Definitely one of my favorite cheeses, too.

          1. re: JungMann

            It is true that taleggio has an odor but it isn't nearly as "stinky" as some french cheeses (for anyone reading this and being freaked out by the smelly comments) I don't think - and tastes so yummy. Love the smoothness of its texture as well.

            1. re: thimes

              A few summers ago a friend brought home (on the train, people hated her) some limberger. She opened it up in a bar and the owner threw her out. We sat outside on the eating it on the hood of her boyfriends car. The smell was awful, but the taste was heavenly

            2. re: JungMann

              Please join us on the Taleggio, cheese of the month, discussion here,
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892781

            3. re: Veggo

              love taleggio and it is a great cheese to melt into a sandwich or anything!

          2. Provolone! When I was a kid, back in 50's, Dad would take one or more of us along to get hoagies at Dicostanza's in Chester PA. Now the neighborhood is a place where Marines wouldn't wanna go into. BUT then... it was an old-fashioned store. mama Costanza would ALWAYS slice of a snack for kids waiting... a slice of provolone was my first HOPE... followed by a slice of salami... though didn't care for the pepper corns. What ever happened to g=them anyway?

            2 Replies
            1. re: kseiverd

              Grandson moved three miles south to Marcus Hook and still does the same thing as his GM, place still called DiCostanza's

              1. re: kseiverd

                Of course, there's provolone and there's provolone. Typical grocer provolone is way too bland for me. Give me the hard (too hard to make thin slices - the type that crumbles when sliced), sharp, imported provolone... followed by a thinly sliced prosciutto perhaps with a thin slice of garden fresh tomato on a crusty Italian bread., Hmm - now that's heaven.

                If it's <$12/lb, it's probably not the right provolone.

                1. The Vacche Rosa is delicious, but not that distinguishable from regular DOG(C?) parm.. Some of my favorites: sottocenere, real Taleggio, Testun, pantaleo

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: srr

                    ssr,
                    Thanks for the info on the Vacche Rosse. Noticed the price and thought it must be something really special. I'll save my $$$ and go w/ another type!

                    1. re: srr

                      Prior to 1960, Parmigiano-Reggiano was made primarily from the milk of Reggiana cows, an Italian breed that has a red coat, hence the name Vacche Rosse (meaning red cows). The breed gives a fairly rich, high protein milk, but with a low yield, as breeds go. For this reason and for various other reasons, the breed went into a steep decline in the 1960's to the point of near extinction and was gradually replaced by Friesian-Holstein cows, which are world champions for the prodigious quantity of milk they give. However, their milk is lower in butterfat and protein. Several years ago, a small group of Parmigiano-Reggiano makers decided to revive the original way of making P-R with a herd of Reggiana cows.

                      Parmigiano-Reggiano Vacche Rosse (PRVR) sells at an approximately 50% premium over standard P-R, but it is also aged longer: 24-30 months vs. the basic 18 months for most exported P-R. Extra aging intensifies the flavors and you'll find more of the crunchy crystals that people love about P-R. I do think it's worthwhile trying an aged P-R, of which PRVR is but one example. You can occasionally find 3-, 4- or even 5-year old P-R. In the hands of a capable affineur (a person who specializes in aging wheels of cheese to perfection), these can be exquisite and well worth the extra cost.