IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST OUR LARGE CATALOGUE OF ITALIAN CHEESES ONLINE
When buying Italian cheeses online, it is essential to feel you know as much as possible about the characteristics of each product, and when it comes to cheese, imagining the flavour isn’t enough: texture, aromas, ageing and shape are all crucial in determining your taste experience. And through this, each and every product in our catalogue tells a story - the story of the milk used to make it, the inspiration and the tradition that gave it its shape.
If you would like to purchase excellent Italian cheeses online, in our e-store you will find a great deal of PDO, PGI and Slow Food products such as:
- Caciocavallo Silano PDO
- Parmigiano Reggiano PDO
- Grana Padano PDO
- Castelmagno d’Alpeggio PDO
- Castelmagno di Montagna PDO
- Taleggio PDO
- Bitto PDO
- Casera PDO
- Fontina PDO
- Fiore Sardo PDO
- Piave PDO
- Asiago PDO
- Montasio PDO
- Pecorino Sardo PDO
- Pecorino Romano PDO
- Caciocavallo Podolico (Slow Food)
As you can see, for our store of Italian food excellence, we have travelled around the whole country selecting both internationally-recognised cheesemakers and dairies and small-scale artisans who produce little-known regional specialities that are otherwise difficult to find online. As such, on Italy Bite you can buy exclusive and fantastic cheeses from De Magi, Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano of the finest quality, and tasty Tome d’Alpeggio.
Creativity and variety are, after all, what most distinguishes Italian cheese production. Have fun on a taste adventure including interesting ageing processes and innovative refinements to tickle your palate. At Italy Bite, we have created a catalogue that includes both eating cheeses and grating cheeses, perfect for traditional recipes or to create new combinations.
To cater for all tastes, we selected hard, soft and semi-soft cheeses made with goat’s, cow’s or sheep’s milk, or a mixture. You will only find cheeses packed with character, with a strong personality and often the recipients of prestigious industry awards. When tasted and smelt, they release all the wonderful aromas of the pastures where the animals grazed to produce the milk used to make them. In alpine pasture cheeses, you will find the aromas of mountain herbs that grow wild at over 1600 metres above sea level.
And that’s not all. Many cheeses in the Italy Bite catalogue are made completely by hand. However, there is a constant dialogue between this skilful craftsmanship and the most innovative technologies. Cutting-edge materials and equipment are details which, together with the highest-quality raw materials, make a world of difference. The creativity of an ager or a master cheesemaker is expressed to its fullest in products which are guaranteed to be fresh and healthy.
If you buy artisanal cheeses online, you know that these are perishable goods which are sensitive to changes in temperature. The quality of what you buy has to be guaranteed, especially during delivery. That is why you can buy excellent Italian cheeses online from Italy Bite and receive them packed in isothermal containers with a 100% guaranteed cold chain.
An Italian cheese with regional variations
Many different types of pecorino exist, given that each region makes its own traditional artisan pecorino cheese.
When we arrange a cheese platter, we usually set out different types of cheese. We may put one cheese with a surface mould, one soft cheese, one hard cheese, or we might choose one sheep milk cheese, one cow milk cheese and one goat milk cheese. But how about preparing a cheese platter with just one type of cheese, including all its different regional variations?
The brands we selected
It is not enough to say “Pecorino”
Calling it just “pecorino” is actually quite simplistic. There is the Tuscan pecorino, the Pecorino from Roma and the Pecorino from Sardinia… Let’s take a look at them all.
Pecorino toscano cheese
Tuscan Pecorino obtained the PDO certification in 1996. It is one of the most ancient cheeses in Italy, dating back to Etruscan and Roman times. Today, just like back in the days, it is made with the milk of ewes reared on Tuscan pastures. It is processed and aged in Tuscany, too.
In Tuscany we also call it cacio; it was actually Pliny the Elder who mentioned this term for the first time in its masterpiece ‘Naturalis Historia’. However, it wasn’t until the 15th century that cacio marzolino started to become common, as it was particularly loved by noble families, such as the Medici. Everyone found it delicious and it was considered one of the best Italian cheeses.
I think that it’s important to mention one particular feature of Tuscan cheese. Although PDO Tuscan Pecorino cheese is delicious, with a unique, perfectly balanced sweet and sapid flavour, pecorino can come in many different shapes and flavours. It is one of those cheeses that you always have on hand and that you can eat at the end of a meal or give to your kids (or keep for yourself) as a mid-afternoon snack.
We meet dairymen and cheese refiners all the time, who put great care and creativity into the production of this Italian cheese, without following PDO product specifications, though.
I would argue in favour of all these pecorino cheeses made in Tuscany, which are not officially recognised as ‘Tuscan pecorino cheese’. They still have that authentic taste which characterises this cheese, and by undergoing fine-tuned and creative refining, have new and unique flavour nuances.
That’s why you can find grape skins, olive leaves, cocoa and aromatic herbs on the rind. When you taste them, you’re always in for a surprise and these pecorino cheeses, with or without the PDO certification, maintain the good reputation of pecorino in this region.
Another interesting feature of PDO Tuscan Pecorino cheese is that its paste can have very different textures. Pecorino can have a soft or semi-hard paste, depending on the aging period: the former ages for at least 20 days, while the latter for at least 4 months.
Pecorino romano cheese
There has been much talk about PDO Pecorino romano: it is called ‘Roman’, but the majority of production takes place in Sardinia, as also stated by the product specifications themselves. However, there are a lot of dairies that still make this pecorino cheese where it is originally from, the Tiber valley.
So, is this Italian cheese from Lazio or from Sardinia? We could say both, let’s overcome labels this time around. After all, Sardinian people know how to make cheese and sheep graze on wonderful natural pastures. Pecorino romano, whether it is produced in Sardinia, Lazio or near Grosseto, is made with the milk of local cattle breeds which graze on uncontaminated pastures full of wild herbs giving a lot of aromas.
Let’s get back to Roman pecorino cheese. It is a hard cheese and it is often used as grate cheese, just like Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano. It actually is the main ingredient of some pasta dishes, such as Amatriciana or Cacio e Pepe.
Roman Pecorino cheese dates back to Roman times, of course. The poet Virgil told us that one Roman soldier would eat 27g of Roman Pecorino cheese per day, which would give him enough energy to fight and travel. It was quite widespread, because of its production technique and long preservation.
Roman pecorino production is very interesting. The weight of cheese wheels can range from 20 to 35 kg; the cheese undergoes four salting steps and the rind, which can also have an ivory colour, usually is black. It is a very flavourful, but not excessively salty, cheese which is slightly spicy and always very tasty. The aging period lasts around six months for Roman pecorino table cheese and at least eight months for Roman Pecorino grate cheese.
Pecorino sardo cheese
Let’s finish our journey through the lands of Pecorino in Sardinia. We have already mentioned that this island is also home to the production of PDO Pecorino romano cheese, but another PDO cheese is produced here, which is closer to local tradition: Sardinian pecorino cheese.
PDO Pecorino sardo has two different aging periods: “mature” Pecorino cheese and “young” Pecorino cheese.
PDO mature Sardinian Pecorino cheese ages for a long time - over six months -, during which it develops a particular, spicy, intense and enveloping flavour which makes it ideal both as table and as grate Italian cheese.
This cheese is a staple for Sardinian people, just like Tuscan Pecorino is for Tuscan people.
The fact that Pecorino cheese is eaten on a daily basis makes this Italian cheese one of those products that we always stock up on. And there’s something poetic and reassuring about it.
Try our pecorino cheese with:
Mozzarella, the art of pasta filata from Campania
As soon as we hear the words ‘PDO Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania’, our mouths immediately start watering. This stretched-curd cheese is a gem of our cheesemaking tradition, as well as the most important PDO label of Southern Italy.
The statistics speak for themselves: more than 500 million kilos of Mozzarella cheeses are made each year, with the turnover constantly increasing – buffalo Mozzarella is a driver of the whole Italian cheesemaking industry. It is also a leading export product, especially to Germany, France and the UK.
And to think that buffalo Mozzarella was actually considered a by-product back in the day! That’s true: since it is quickly perishable, it could go as far as the local market. Therefore, while aged and smoked cheeses started to gain renown, the fame of buffalo Mozzarella was limited to its areas of production.
The brand we selected
In the area next to Salerno, the first buffalo dairies were founded in the late Middle Ages. However, until the mid-20th century, buffalos were used for their incredible strength, rather than for their precious milk. As a matter of fact, farmers used them to plough the fields and would rear them in the semi-wild state.
Nowadays, we know how precious buffalo milk is. And we also know how delicious cheeses from buffalo milk are. Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania obtained the PDO label in 1996 thanks to its incredible sensory features and taste characteristics.
Milk used to make this cheese must be sourced from farms located in the certified area and must be processed according to the region’s traditional methods. When a product tastes this incredible, the least one can do is protecting it as much as possible.
Buffalo VS cow: the ultimate milk battle
Buffalo Mozzarella from Campania is the only Mozzarella in the world to have ever obtained the PDO label. Cow’s milk Mozzarella is not PDO certified. Why is buffalo Mozzarella so special? And how come it is so delicious?
It is a matter of milk quality. Buffalo’s milk is richer in protein, fat and calcium than cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains more water, while buffalo’s milk is thicker and more concentrated, even as far as the flavour is concerned.
In any case, a good milk requires a healthy animal. A high-quality milk implies a perfectly healthy buffalo whose welfare is a priority for the dairy.
We at Italy Bite have selected a PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania by a special company, where animal welfare is the highest priority: it is the Azienda Agricola Tempio farm, located in the plain of the temples of Paestum.
To make their Mozzarella cheeses, these cheesemakers only use the milk of their own buffalos; these buffalos often undergo veterinary checks, live in big and comfortable facilities and are milked employing cutting-edge techniques.
Furthermore, the Azienda Agricola Tempio farm makes incredible cheeses that respect the breath-taking environment in which it is located. They produce electricity by using biogas made from sewage sludge, and their soil fertilisation is fully natural and organic.
How is buffalo Mozzarella made?
Let’s get something straight: making PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania is an art. We could tell you all about each production step, but the best thing to do to understand what we are talking about is actually eating a nice Mozzarella cheese.
To make buffalo Mozzarella, we start from the curd, like with any cheese. When rennet has been added and the milk has curdled, the curd is broken, cut and left to drain on a steel table.
When the curd has “ripened”, the magic happens. The curd is placed in a basin and boiling water is poured. Cheesemakers start to knead it with a wooden stick. When the cheese paste forms long strings when stretched and becomes glossy and perfectly homogenous, it has reached the perfect point of elasticity.
The most beautiful step begins here. Cheesemakers knead by hand the pasta filata or stretched curd and tear it by hand, cutting it into big or small pieces depending on the Mozzarella shape. Mozzarella cheeses are then plunged into a water and salt brine and are ready to be packaged.
It may seem easy, but the manual skills of the cheesemakers are a key success factor of the PDO buffalo Mozzarella cheese from Campania. As we have mentioned, the milk quality is fundamental, but so is the role of the artisan cheesemaker!
How to serve it
You can serve it whichever way you like! It is a must with tomatoes, but it also tastes exceptional with ham, with any vegetable and torn into pieces on pasta dishes. Which is my favourite recipe, you ask? Take a plate, a fork and a knife, take a half-kilo PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania and enjoy. You don’t even need to season it with salt or oil.
The only golden rule that should never be broken is the serving temperature. Never serve a PDO buffalo Mozzarella from Campania straight out of the fridge. You are about to eat one of the most exceptional products in the world, treat it accordingly!
Let’s start lightly
Two light summer appetizers, with raw buffalo mozzarella. Very little preparation for a true delicacy.
Eggplant rolls with buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomatoes
Consider two variants for the eggplants: fried or grilled, the former are more delicious, the latter are lighter. The important thing is that the eggplants are in season, the rest is up to you.
While you cook the eggplant, dice the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes and add salt, pepper, oil and basil. When the eggplants are cold, arrange them on a tray and fill them withthe mix of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, roll them up and hold them with a toothpick.
For a stronger taste, you can replace the cherry tomatoes with dried tomatoes, add some Taggiasca olives, capers or some anchovy fillet. In this case, pay attention to the salt!
Chianina meat tartare with buffalo mozzarella and basil
A chic but super easy appetizer. Chop the chianina meat to a tartare, season it with a little salt and a little oil and put it in the fridge. Slice the buffalo mozzarella and prepare a dressing with basil, oil and mozzarella preserving liquid.
Serve it this way: a slice of mozzarella, chianina meat tartare and basil dressing. A meeting of absolutely irresistible flavours!
First courses: use your imagination!
Let’s move on to first courses, one with raw mozzarella, one that involves cooking. In both cases, success is assured.
Gnocchi dumplings on the crock with ragout and buffalo mozzarella
For the long version you have to prepare the gnocchi and the ragout, but if you’re running out of time don’t worry, you can purchase ready-made potato gnocchi and ragout, as long as they’re of excellent quality. By the way, we have a ragout that is the end of the world on our catalog…
On the other hand, bechamel sauce has to be made. No, you cannot use the supermarket kind, ever. Nothing is better.
Once you have the gnocchi, the ragout and the bechamel sauce prepare your pans. Put a spoonful of bechamel sauce on the bottom, then gnocchi with ragout, a lot of buffalo mozzarella and a nice sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Put in the oven at 180°C until it makes a crust and serve it to the table.
Bucatini pasta with turnip greens, crunchy crumbs and buffalo mozzarella
A revisited classic. Sauté the turnip greens with oil, garlic and chili in a pan. They have to get softer, not overcooked.
In another pan, put the oil, an anchovy fillet if you like, and add some small bread cubes. When it gets crunchy, put it on a plate: if you leave it in the pan, it will continue to absorb oil.
Cook the pasta and drain it 2 minutes earlier and finish cooking it in the pan with the turnips greens and a ladle of cooking water. Stir well, serve it and complete it with the bread cubes and buffalo mozzarella.
Main courses, between the classic and the creative
Two different main courses, one more homemade, which will surely appeal to children, the other more elaborate, perfect for a candlelight dinner.
Make the classic dough for meatballs, with veal, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and parsley, feel free to add some grated lemon zest if you like.
Make a classic meatball, but inside insert a cube of buffalo mozzarella, it’s better if you first pass it on kitchen paper to remove excess moisture.
Cook them in a pan or in the oven until golden brown. You can serve them as they are or prepare a sauce with tomato and basil.
Lasagna with buffalo mozzarella and raw shrimp on zucchini cream
Very few ingredients, almost no preparation. I don’t need to tell you that you have to choose the best raw materials, right?
Let’s start with zucchini cream. Clean the zucchini, boil them for 10 minutes, cool them in ice water and put them in a mixer with salt, oil and toasted pine nuts.
Shell and clean the prawns, cut the mozzarella into slices and we are ready to serve. First layer ofsauce, one of shrimp, one of mozzarella,one of shrimp, one of mozzarella. To garnish, a round of oil and some toasted pine nuts to add a bit of crunchiness.
Buffalo mozzarella is a simply amazing product. Good on its own, great for endless preparations. A soft and enveloping taste, which makes everything better!
Try our mozzarella cheese with:
Castelmagno cheese: a gem from the mountains
Castelmagno is a fatty, semi-hard cow milk’s cheese. It is a protected designation of origin certified product, as well as one of the most famous cheeses in Italy.
It was first born in Castelmagno, a very small municipality in the province of Cuneo. Almost 1,000 people lived there at the end of the 19th century, while current population has shrunk down to only 59 inhabitants. Industrialisation and rural-to-urban migration led to a progressive abandonment of mountain areas and the declining population of Castelmagno is proof of that.
That’s why it is so important to protect and promote this traditional cheese, as a symbol of the mountain, its pastures and stables, as well as of the craft and tenacity of herders.
The brand we selected
How is Castelmagno cheese made?
Castelmagno is a PDO certified product: the area of origin is described in the product specifications, as well as each production step.
Let’s start by talking about milk; it comes from selected cattle breeds which are reared the traditional way, without using any chemical feed additives, and which are milked maximum twice a day.
Raw milk is simply heated to 38 degrees and then liquid calf rennet is added. After coagulation, the curd is cut twice: the first time it is roughly cut, while the second time it is cut into smaller grains, not bigger than a hazelnut.
It is left to rest for 35 minutes and then the curd is extracted. As tradition dictates, a dry and clean cloth is used. The curd is then pressed by hand and left to hang for at least 18 hours, to drain off excess whey.
Afterwards, it is put in special containers and plunged in whey once again at a least 17 °C. The fermentation step begins, which lasts 2 to 4 days. Then the curd is cut once again, finely minced and mixed.
It is time to mould the cheese: the curd is enveloped in specific cloths and placed in cheese strainers, where it is manually or mechanically pressed for at least a day. It then undergoes only a dry-salting process which helps the cheese rind develop consistency.
Ripening begins here; it lasts at least 60 days at a temperature ranging from 5 to 15 °C and a humidity between 70 and 98%. This is where the magic happens, and it is all thanks to the cool and humid natural caves, where the ripening takes place.
Mountains, land, La Meiro
Only few products are so deeply connected to their land as this cheese. Castelmagno is a synonym of mountains, pastures, alpine pastures and craft. They are deeply intertwined to each other.
With the purpose of bringing Castelmagno back to its former glory, Giorgio and Andrea Amedeo decided to move back to the mountains, to Chiappi, i.e. the highest district of the municipality of Castelmagno. The alpine pastures of their company - La Meiro - are located more than 1,700 m above sea level; that’s why the grass is so scented, the milk is so delicious and the cheese is simply extraordinary.
Nature dictates the pace of life here: cows live in the stables during the winter, where they are fed with hay, while in the summer they live in the wild and graze forage they find in the pastures.
The milk - and hence the cheese - is different. Castelmagno mountain cheese is produced between the months of October and May: its paste is ivory in colour and the cheese rind is brownish to red with a visible marbling.
The ripening period changes the flavour, too. Young cheeses taste like milk, while aged cheeses have long-lasting, vegetal notes. If the aging period is particularly long, the layer under the rind becomes creamy.
Castelmagno cheese from the alpine pastures is a Slow Food Presidium. It is only made in the summer time, when the milk smells like wild herbs and pasture flowers. The scents of flowers and herbs give this cheese a unique, long-lasting and aromatic flavour.
Castelmagno cheese by the company La Meiro is special, since it ages longer than the aging period required by product specifications, and it only ages in Roman turf caves which are located 5 metres underground with a constant humidity of 90 %. Nothing is left to chance here and the result is simply one of a kind.
Castelmagno in the kitchen
Castelmagno is a complex cheese with a rich and long-lasting flavour. Given its special consistency, it is ideal to make sauces and fillings for fresh pasta. It is also great for gnocchi, risotto or pasta, too.
It pairs exceptionally well with polenta and with mushrooms, too.
A little bit of history
The story of Castelmagno cheese is shrouded in mystery: there are only few proofs of its existence. It was first mentioned in a ruling in 1277 that obliged the municipality of Castelmagno to pay a yearly fee to the marquis of Saluzzo. How was the municipality supposed to pay? In cash? Bars of gold? By ceding lands? No, the marquis of Saluzzo wanted to be paid with seven Castelmagno cheese wheels - he got his priorities straight!
Castelmagno cheese was then mentioned in another official document only in 1722 and, even in this case, this cheese was part of a fee to be paid to feudal lords, as the King Victor Amadeus II ordered.
In the 19th century, Castelmagno cheese enjoyed considerable success: it spread all over Europe and could be found listed on the menus of the most prestigious restaurants in London and Paris.
Then, the beginning of the 20th century witnessed its decay which was to last until the 60s. Wars, industrialisation, the abandonment of mountain areas and the declining population in high-altitude small villages threatened the survival of this incredible cheese.
The early 80s finally witnessed a recovery in production. Gianni de Matteis - mayor of Castelmagno from 1970 to 1986 - promoted this cheese which obtained the controlled designation of origin in 1982 and the PDO label in 1996.
Try our Castelmagno cheese with:
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