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Under the Italian Sun

Is there anyplace you’d rather be than under the Italian sun at this very minute?  If you’re like us, you can’t stop thinking about the flavors of Italy. Think olive trees, lemons, vineyards, and (of course) CHEESE! Home to many fantastic cheeses, Italy is a gourmet’s delight. We’ve gathered three exceptional cheeses to give you a taste of Italy this Saturday.

And, if you can’t be in Italy, why not join us for an afternoon of feasting on Italian delicacies? We hope to see you this weekend as we try three cheeses and other Italian gourmet items. Join us! Bring a friend and make it a party!


StraCapra is often referred to as the goat’s milk version of Tallegio, one of Italy’s classic cow’s milk cheeses. The goat’s milk in StraCapra lends it a delightfully meaty and creamy taste that is milder than its heavier cousin. And it has a light gray and white rind, unlike orangey Tallegio. Be sure to eat the rind: The rind is where the earthy taste resides and is not to be missed!

This week’s fun fact: Goat cheese has a snowy-white color because goats don’t metabolize beta-carotene. Instead, they convert the beta-carotene to Vitamin A, which is colorless. Now, aren’t you glad you read this?

Origin: Lombardy, Italy
Milk: Pasteurized goat
Rennet Type: Animal
Rind: Washed rind
Age: 6 weeks
Look: Snowy white paste covered with a whitish-gray mold
Feel: Semi-soft
Smell: Lactic
Taste: Creamy, sweet, full-bodied, slight tang and funkiness
Pairs well with: Black truffle acacia honey, apricots, beets
Tastes good with: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot; Beer


Cacio de Roma

Cacio de Roma is a true crowd pleaser. A semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese made in the countryside of Rome, it’s a classic cheese that is a staple on Italian tables. And, because of its flavor and the fact that it melts well, you’ll enjoy adding it to pizza, paninis, salad, or pasta. It is frequently added to Cacio e Pepe — the classic Italian pasta dish. (Cacio means “cheese” in Italian.) But there’s nothing like the taste of this young cheese by itself: the creamy, mildly salty and buttery taste will win you over.

Its tanginess and creamy texture comes from its 24-hour bath of sea salt, after which it is aged on wood for 30 days. While similar in flavor to Manchego, it has a firm, pliant texture instead of the dry, crumbliness of The Cheese from La Mancha. Unlike its cousin, Pecorino Romano, Cacio de Roma is only mildly salty. Attribute that to youth. (Don’t we all get saltier as we age??)

Origin: Lazio, Italy
Milk: Sheep
Rennet Type: Animal
Rind: Natural
Age: 2+ months
Look: Ivory. Made into a small wheel.
Feel: Semi-soft, creamy texture
Smell: Rich
Taste: Complex range of flavors incorporating sweet and salty: creamy, tangy, peppery, mild, sweet
Pairs well with: Fruit, crusty bread, honey. The sweet and salty balance of the cheese lends itself to pairing with other cheeses and fruit.
Tastes good with: Italian reds, full-bodied whites, Dolcetto

Caciotta Tartufo

If you are looking for a mild cheese dressed up in truffles, this is not your cheese! It is soooo much more than that. The rich blend of cow and rich sheep’s milk creates an unctuous platform for the earthy, meaty truffles, and the balance is pure Goldilocks — not too mild and not too strong.

Its wow factor makes it ideal for your next cheese platter. But don’t stop there. This flavorful cheese will be a standout in your favorite Italian dishes. Imagine it stuffed in chicken or ravioli. Or tossed onto pizza….

Origin: Umbria, Italy
Milk: Pasteurized cow and sheep
Rennet Type: Animal
Rind: Natural
Age: 1-2 months
Look: Ivory paste infused with black truffles
Feel: Semi-soft, creamy
Smell: Earthy, pungent
Taste: Tangy, truffle-y, rich, creamy
Pairs well with: Italian salamis, Prosciutto, crusty bread
Tastes good with: Riesling, Sauterne, Merlot

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