Asiago is like the unassuming middle child from a noble Italian family --– it's got a great pedigree, but you don't hear about it all that often. Which makes sense – it's hard to steal the spotlight from siblings like the older, bolder parmesan and gorgonzola. And competing with the sizzle and splash of younger cheeses like fresh mozzarella and mascarpone? Forget about it.
But if you take little time to really get to know asiago, you'll find a highly accommodating and incredibly tasty cheese that's great with paninis and pastas, grated over risotto, or enjoyed for its own engaging personality on a cheese or charcuterie board. Fresh asiago has a smooth texture and mild flavor, while asiago that's aged from four months to two years has a crumbly texture and a stronger taste. We think it's time asiago takes its rightful place in the long line of famous Italian-style cheeses.
Props to our Wisconsin cheesemakers – they've really put the "Si!" in asiago, winning more than 100 awards for this American version of an Italian-style classic.
Asiago is great on its own as a light snack or with fruits and nuts like walnuts and dried apricots, or with honey. It melts well, so we like to grate it on a flatbread and bake until golden. It's the perfect complement to a summer salad and a great topper for broiled fish.
Asiago's flexibility makes it easy to pair with lots of wines – try a riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, cabernet sauvignon or syrah. We also like it with fruit beers and hard ciders as well as pilsners and pale ales. And asiago with scotch or sake? Well, we won't say no to that.
Asiago is an Italian-style cheese made from whole cow's milk. Fresh or young asiago has a mild flavor and smooth texture, while asiago that has been aged at least four months has a more crumbly texture and pungent flavor.
Considered an alpine-style cheese, asiago has a nuttier, creamier flavor that gets sharper as it ages, and a texture that can range from smooth to crumbly, depending on the age. Parmesan, on the other hand, has an intense and pungent flavor and crumbly texture that makes it great for grating. Also, asiago is generally moister than parmesan or, making it a better cheese for melting.
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"Why would I buy a classic Italian mainstay that's made in middle America?"
We get that a lot, but we understand. And in response, we usually just hand over a slice of Wisconsin's finest asiago, and that usually stops the conversation. Or starts a new one, that goes something like this:
"What the hey?! How can you guys make Italian-style cheese this good?"
And we say something like:
"Well, we've been making Italian cheese for 175 years, from recipes brought over by immigrants from their respective homelands. We've got the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world apart from the one in Switzerland. And, not to brag, but we're pretty good at it – we've won more awards for cheesemaking than any state or country in the world, Italy included. (Okay that was a little braggy.) That's what happens when a whole state is dedicated to making the tastiest, highest-quality, most award-winning cheese on the planet."
And then the other guy usually says:
"Huh. Okay. Um…can I have some more?"
Yep, Wisconsin makes awesome asiago. End of conversation.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.