A Guide to Italian Raw Milk Cheese
All you need to know about raw milk cheese
A magical product which may have been created by mistake or pure luck, there is no doubt that cheese has been bringing great joy to many people for thousands of years. Although it is made from just four ingredients (milk, salt, rennet, and microbes), it the quality of the main ingredient, the milk, which makes a world of difference and can change a good cheese into a great one. And that is why raw-milk cheeses are the best of the best!
Watch Foodie Sisters to find out more about Italian raw-milk cheese and learn how to taste it like a pro with our very own certified cheese taster.
What is raw-milk cheese?
Raw-milk cheese is made using unpasteurized, fresh, milk. Before the invention of pasteurization, all cheeses were made with raw-milk but in more recent years it has become less common, and in many countries, including the US, the production of raw-milk cheese is forbidden. In the US, by law, cheese must be made with pasteurized milk (or has to age at least 60 days before going on the market) whereas in countries like Italy and France we have the option of using raw-milk that comes straight from the animal. This makes a huge difference to the flavor and texture of the cheese.
So why is raw-milk so much better? Well, picture a healthy animal feeding on wild grass, flowers, and plants. Now imagine the milk of this animal, full of healthy bacteria, flavor, good microbes, natural enzymes, calcium, minerals, and a whole bunch of other good stuff. The cheese produced from this milk will have a complexity of flavors and aromas as well as freshness that simply cannot be replicated in pasteurized milk.
What does the use of pasteurized milk do to cheese?
With raw-milk cheese even though some bacteria will die off after the initial step of cheesemaking, there are survivors that will contribute to the flavor of the cheese. This helps create the intricate array of aromas that are unique to each individual cheese.
The process of pasteurization, on the other hand, destroys all the qualities that are naturally present in raw milk. All the beneficial bacteria, the natural flavor-producing enzymes, the calcium, minerals, protein, flavor, and vitamins. Pasteurization kills all this together with any natural flavor from the animal’s diet in one fell swoop. The cheesemaker then has a clean canvas to work with allowing them to make every batch of milk taste exactly the same. This is not necessarily bad, but raw-milk cheese is a totally different deal.
If you love cheese you cannot miss out on the chance to try Italian raw-milk cheeses! We’ve got a great Cheese & Wine Tasting in Rome that will take you on a journey across Italy’s great raw-milk craft cheeses paired with a selection of Italian wines. This is a truly unique opportunity to become acquainted with some of the best raw-milk cheeses and wines produced in Italy. Our wine sommelier and professional cheese taster will take you by the “nose” and teach you all you need to know about this amazing product.