National Wine & Cheese Day – Italy

History

Italian wine has a rich history that dates back many years. Wine is a key aspect of the Italians’ culture, and though Italian wine is popular today, it is crucial to note that the wines we have today have been influenced by centuries of history. In fact, the winemaking and grape cultivation of the Italians is truly unparalleled by other countries. This is so because not only do they have the cutting edge technologies of today, but they also have the advantage of getting experience and knowledge passed down through the years from ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and industrial-era periods. It is said that Italians have over four thousand years of experience in wine making dating back to when the Greeks came there in the eighth century B.C. The explorers that came actually named Italy “the land of wine” and the Romans established a wine trade throughout their empire, influencing wine culture throughout Europe and including Italy. It is also noteworthy that Italy has a diverse selection of grapes that grow there, in fact there are over 590 native grape varieties, which contributes greatly to their ability to make so many different wines.

Italian Wine and the United States

Luckily, the United States is the best place to get Italian wine other than in Italy itself. This is so because as of 2017, the U.S. is Italy’s top export market for wine, being at 23.5% of total production. Part of the reason is due to Italy making such wonderful wines, yet the other part is due to Italy boasting such a great variety of grapes and wines where one can literally try a different wine everyday for a year and still not have tried every variety. As such, you are bound to be able to get some pleasant Italian wine in honor of National Wine & Cheese Day and enjoy every moment.

What Are The Best Italian Cheeses?

This of course is up to personal preference, but with so many different cheese options coming from Italy, many of which are very well known and loved here in the United States, there is something that you will enjoy for sure from this list!

Mozzarella:

We cannot talk about Italian cheeses without mentioning this classic. This white, semi-soft cheese with a high moisture content is a very well known cheese, being often used on pizzas or eaten with tomatoes. Did you know that mozzarella refers to cheese which typically is made from Italian buffalo milk using a spinning and cutting technique known as ‘pasta filata’? pressed together in a mold. The cheese is soft and slightly elastic and is great as a snack with bread or to put on a cheeseboard.

Parmigiano-Reggiano:

Or as we better know it – parmesan. This type of cheese originated from the Northern part of Italy and is well known for its rich, distinct taste and flaky texture.

Mascarpone:

We all know this cheese best as a key ingredient in the yummy tiramisu, but this creamy, milky-white cheese can also be used in cheesecakes or even as a substitute for butter or Parmesan cheese! The cheese is actually made by draining the moisture from the cream of cow’s milk through a finely woven cloth.

Ricotta:

This is the final cheese we will highlight here, as the possibilities are endless and we would be here craving and drooling over cheeses for ages. Ricotta translates to meaning recooked and it makes a lot of sense considering that it’s made from the whey that is leftover from the production of various other cheeses and produces a finished product of a creamy, white cheese with a slightly sweet taste.