Types of Italian Cheese

by Leslie Stauffer on June 14, 2011

D.O.C – Denominazione di origine controllata (D.O.C) – this is a safeguard to Italian Cheeses, only 26 Italian cheeses have been grated this patent nobility. A permanent commission in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests officials regulate the production of D.O.C Cheeses – the commission creates standardized production methods as well as the physical conditions of each of the 26 different D.O.C cheeses. When D.O.C is granted to an Italian Cheese this means that the cheese is now protected to maintain the original conditions of the cheese. The D.O.C on the label indicates the best quality of cheese you can possibly have bought. The specific regions that are lucky enough to have a D.O.C Italian Cheese feel honored and take a lot of pride to be a part of culinary heritage.

types of italian cheeses

Asiago (D.O.C) comes from the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Region of Northern Italy. The two major cities associated with the regions are Venice and Trieste. Asiago has a beige white interior with smalls holes that go throughout the cheese. Asiago is a mild cheese that has a tangy flavor. The more the cheese is aged the more sharp it becomes (more tangy).

Bra (D.O.C) can be found in the Piedmont Region of Northern Italy. The major city associated with the Piedmont Region is Turin. Bra cheese is a mild cow’s milk cheese that is beige in color with tiny wholes throughout. Bra is available as a soft and hard cheese depending on how long Bra has been aged.

Caciocavallo (D.O.C) comes from Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria which is Southern Italy. The Major cities of the three Southern Regions are Bari, Potenza and Catanzaro. Caciocavallo means “to end up like Caciocavallo” means to be hanged, that is why Caciocavallo is gourd shaped and then hung with a string. Caciocavallo is beige in color when young and then turns a darker brown the longer it is aged.

Canestrato Pugliese (D.O.C) comes from the Southern Region of Apulia which the major city is Bari. Canestrato is a solid creamy cheese that is beige in color with a brown rind. The cheese has a sweet flavor that pairs well with a fruity red wine.

Casciotta d’Urbino (D.O.C) is produced in the Marches Region which major city is Ancona. Marche, which is located in Central Italy is known for the production of Casciotta d’ Urbino. “Colour of the cheese straw white, structure soft and crumbly, with characteristic small holes. Taste sweet yet full, pleasantly acidic, agreeable.”

Castelmagno (D.O.C) can be found in Northern Italy in the Region known as Piedmont which major city is Turin. Castelmagno is straw-like in color with a very salty yet smooth taste. This particular cheese is very rare outside of the Piedmont Region of Italy.

Fiore d’Sardo (D.O.C.) is created on the Island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy. The major city of Sardinia is Cagliari. Fiore d’Sardo can be described as off-white in color with a rich fruity flavour. The cheese takes about three to six months to fully ripen and is completely ready for consumption.

Fontina d’Aosta (D.O.C) is also produced in the Northern Region of Piedmont, whose major city is Turin. Fontina d’Aosta is very creamy with a straw color, it has an earthy after taste that goes well with a bold red wine.

Formai de Mut (D.O.C) is an Italian Cheese that is produced in the Northern Region of Italy known as Lombardy. The city associated with the particular region is Milan. Formai de Mut is a very dense, cow’s milk cheese that is straw in color. Occasionally, Formai de Mut will have
“eyes” or holes within the surface of cheese.

Gorgonzola (D.O.C) is another Italian Cheese that is produced in the Northern Region of Italy known as Lombardy whose major city is Milan. Gorgonzola (D.O.C) is a cow’s blue, soft, creamy cheese. There are two different types of Gorgonzola (D.O.C), sweet (dolce), which is soft and mild the other Gorgonzola (D.O.C) is aged (naturale), which is firmer and has a more powerful aroma.

gourmet gorgonzola cheese

Grana Padano (D.O.C) can come from three different regions of Italy. Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, and Veneto are the three main regions that produce Grana Padano (D.O.C). Grana Padano is widely available and is a very common imported Italian Cheese that is a mild version of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Produced in Southern Italy and the Southern Central Region of Italy, Grana Padano (D.O.C) is “a hard cheese which easily melts and dissolves in the mouth with a mellow but intense flavour which strengthens with age (of the cheese). Used both for grating and dessert.”

Montasio (D.O.C) is a wonderful Italian Cheese that is found in the Fruili-Venezia Giulia Region which is located in Northern Italy and its major city is Trieste. Montasio (D.O.C) is a fresh cheese that is know to be soft and smooth in texture with a sweet taste. Montasio (D.O.C) is off-white in color and gets harder as the cheese matures.

Mozzarella di bufala (D.O.C) is a type of mozzarella that is made from the milk of buffalo’s that graze in the Region of Campania, which can be found in Southern Italy and whose major city is known as Naples. Mozzarella di bufala can be made from both pasteurized and non-pasteurized buffalo milk. Fresh Mozzarella di Bufala that is made with non-pasteurized milk can be eaten they day the mozzarella is made. Mozzarella di Bufala is white in color with a smooth exterior and silky texture. Best Cheese to use on a Pizza.

Murazzano (D.O.C) can be found to be produced in the Region of Piedmont which can be located in Northern Italy with Turin being its major city within the region. Muzazzano (D.O.C) resembles a ball of dough you would use to make a pizza crust. Muzazzano (D.O.C) is “white or ivory-white with few small holes. The texture is soft.The taste is mainly sweet and fine but savoury and more intense in aged products.”

Parmigiano-Reggiano (D.O.C) can be described to many as the “King of all Cheeses”. Parmigiano-Reggiano (D.O.C) is made in the Emilia-Romagna Region which can be found in Central Italy and whose major city is Bologna. This particular Italian Cheese has a golden brown rind, with a light yellow interior. The flavor that is produced by this particular cheese is slightly salty but pairs well with a Big Italian Red Wine such as Chianti.

Pecorino Romano (D.O.C) is a protected cheese that is produced in the Regions known as Lazio and the Island of Sardinia. Lazio is located in Central Italy where Rome is found. Pecorino Romano (D.O.C) is a widely available imported Italian Cheese that has a natural rind and is known for the peppery, sheep flavor with a straw color.

Pecorino Sardo (D.O.C) can be found to be produced in the Island of Sardinia. Pecorino Sardo (D.O.C) is a rare Italian Cheese that is mainly found in the Region of Sardinia, it has a slight smokey flavor, straw-like in color and has a hard texture. Many people love Pecorino Sardo (D.O.C) to accompany their Pesto recipes.

Pecorino Siciliano (D.O.C) is a rare Italian Cheese that is produced in Sicily which is located south, off the main land of Italy . The major city within the Island of Sicily is Palermo. It is a hard cheese that can be used in your favorite Italian dish or use it to be grated on top of such things as salads. Pecorino Siciliano (D.O.C) is an aged cheese that is made from sheep’s milk and goes well with a structured red wine.

Pecorino Toscano (D.O.C) is another sheep’s milk cheese that comes from the region of Tuscany which is located in Central Italy. The main city that is in Tuscany is Florence, Italy. Pecorino Toscano (D.O.C) has an ivory interior depending upon the length of time it has been aged, Pecorino Toscano (D.O.C) gets darker and produces more oil the longer it has been aged. Pecorino Toscano (D.O.C) has a nutty, olive flavor that pairs well with Chianti.

Pressato (D.O.C) is a cheese that is produced in the Veneto Region of Italy, whose major city is Venice, located in Northern Italy. Trying to find information on this particular cheese was very difficult due to the fact that most sources say Pressato (D.O.C) is no longer being made and is not available.

Provolone (D.O.C) is available throughout the entire county of Italy but mainly in the Regions of Basilicata, Lombardy and Veneto. Basilicata’s main city is Potenza which can be found in Southern Italy but Lombabardy and Veneto are located in Northern Italy and their main cities are Milan and Venice. Provolone (D.O.C) is made from cow’s milk with a white interior and whose texture can vary depending on the age of the cheese. Young Provolone is firm and has a wavy texture, Aged Provolone is very sharp and has a crumbly texture.


Ragusano (D.O.C) is made on the Island of Sicily which is located South of the main lands of Italy, whose main city is Palermo. Ragusano (D.O.C) is a hard cow’s milk cheese that is aged for typically about six months and is treated with vinegar and oil throughout the aging process to create a more savory taste.

Raschera (D.O.C) is produced in the regions of Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, whose major cities are Milan and Bologna. Lombardy can be found in Northern Italy while Emilia-Romagna is located in Central Italy. Raschera (D.O.C) is white in color and has been aged for a minimum of thirty days and there tiny holes throughout the entire soft texture cheese. Raschera (D.O.C) has a mild flavor and the more the cheese is aged the more salty Raschera (D.O.C) will become.

Robiola di Roccaverano (D.O.C) is an Italian cheese that is made in the Piedmont Region located in Northern Italy. Robiola di Roccaverano (D.O.C) has no rind and is white in color, sometimes it is confused for a piece of dough. Robiola di Roccaverano (D.O.C) has a mild yet sour flavor.

Taleggio (D.O.C) is a semi soft, white cheese that is produced in the Region known as Lombardy whose main city is known as Milan. Taleggio (D.O.C) is salty with a hint of fruit that would go well with any Italian Red Wines.

Toma (D.O.C) is an Italian Cheese that is produced in the Region of Piedmont which can be found in Northern Italy. The main city of Piedmont is known as Turin. Toma (D.O.C) is a hard cheese with a straw color that is rare in many parts of the world.

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