Italian Cheese

For the best Italian cheese, head for Florence (Wisconsin).

When you think of Italian cheese, you naturally think of the legendary regions of Italy that make them: Parma, Roma, Asiago, Gorgonzola and the like. But when you want to buy the best Italian cheese, you should really be thinking about Wisconsin.

No joke. Wisconsin has won more awards for cheese than any other state or nation in the world – Italy included. We even won the best-of-class award for parmesan at the World Cheese Championship in 2018, beating out – drumroll, please – the team from Parma.

That's why, whether it's parmesan or provolone, mozzarella or marscapone, gorgonzola or stracchino, if it's Italian cheese, you want to buy Wisconsin-made.

Italian cheeses from Wisconsin

Wisconsin makes plenty of rustic Italian cheeses that are rich in tradition and heavy on flavor.

  • Asiago is a versatile and incredibly tasty cheese has a smooth texture and mild flavor when it's young, and a crumbly texture and more pungent taste when aged.
  • Burrata means "buttery" in Italian which is the perfect way to describe this fresh cheese made with a shell of fresh mozzarella with a soft creamy interior.
  • Fontina is an alpine-style cheese with a rich and creamy texture, and flavor notes of butter and roasted nuts that get stronger as this semi-hard cheese ages.
  • Gorgonzola is one of the world's oldest blue-veined cheeses, with a crumbly soft texture and mild to sharp taste, depending on its age.
  • Mascarpone is the sweetest Italian cheese – a spreadable fresh cheese with a subtly sweet, tangy, and rich buttery flavor. It's the very essence of tiramisu.
  • Mozzarella is the #1 cheese in America today thanks to our love of pizza. Cheesemakers stretch and knead the curd of this creamy white, fresh cheese to create its springy and dense consistency. Fresh mozzarella has a soft and light texture and is very moist, while standard mozzarella has a firmer, stringier texture with less moisture.
  • Parmesan is known as the King of Italian cheese, and it's loved all over the world for its sweet, nutty flavor and gritty, crystalline texture.
  • Provolone is a cheese whose clean, buttery, slightly smoky flavor goes with everything, and is made in shapes that resemble bottles, pears, or sausages.
  • Ricotta is a fresh cheese with a light and fluffy texture and a creamy and slightly sweet taste that makes it great with sweet or savory dishes.
  • Ricotta salata is a ricotta cheese that's been pressed, salted, and aged to give it a firm texture and a saltier taste.
  • Romano is a hard and full-bodied cheese with a flavor that's even bolder, tangier, and saltier than its cousin parmesan.
  • Stracchino (Crescenza) is a fresh and creamy rindless cheese that spreads, melts, and layers beautifully – it's like a very mild brie with a buttermilk tang.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is Italian cheese?

What is Italian cheese?

Italian cheese is a vast collection of cheeses made in a wide variety of styles. Italian cheeses range from fresh to aged, and include some national favorites like mozzarella and parmesan.

How many Italian cheeses are there?

There are more than 500 types of cheese that are recognized commercially and three of them are the most popular cheeses in America. In 2019, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan led the pack for most popular cheeses in the US.

When did Italian cheese originate?

The people occupying the peninsula that is now Italy have been making cheese for thousands of years, but it was the Romans who first experimented with aging cheese and invented cheese presses in the first century A.D. They created special kitchens, known as caseale, dedicated to making cheese. Many of their techniques were abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire; most of the Italian cheese varieties we know today were originated over the last millennia.

When in Rome, Wisconsin…

Italian cheese is among the most prized and popular families of cheeses on the planet, made with centuries of tradition. In Wisconsin, our cheesemakers have mastered those traditions and honor them, but, like their pioneering cheese-making ancestors who came to Wisconsin in the 1800s, they're always looking for new ways to make Italian cheese slightly better.

When you're looking for fresh Italian cheese, there's no reason to wait for it to be shipped across the Atlantic – our Wisconsin cheesemakers are producing world-class mozzarella, burrata, mascarpone, and stracchino every day. And for the older, harder, artisan cheeses, well, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better parmesan, provolone, gorgonzola, or asiago anywhere in the world.

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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