Exploring Cheese

Parmigano-reggiano, mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta cheeses are all staples in our cooking, and are loved and cherished equally at Alpine. Let’s explore some of their attributes, and clarify why each of these cheeses have earned their place in our kitchen and our hearts.

Parmigano-reggiano is often referred to as the King of Cheese. With its bold and biting taste, it is perfect to grate over fresh pasta, vegetables, or, as we do here, shave into a Caesar Salad.

From the Region: Emilia-Romagna

Aged: About 2 years

Fun Fact: Law dictates that Parmigiano-Reggiano can only be made between April and November so that the cows graze on fresh, green grasses rather than dry hay. The thinking is that one starts with good milk, and then, ends up with great cheese and complex flavors.

Ricotta is for drizzling with good olive oil and scooping up with crusty bread, or baking into lasagna, or cheesecake. Soft and sweet, ricotta is made from whey—that is, the watery liquid that remains after cow, sheep or goat cheese is made. Typically ricotta is highly perishable, but it also comes in aged varieties which can be preserved much longer.

Fun Fact: Ricotta is technically not a cheese, but a dairy by-product…made from what is left over after making other cheeses.

Mozzarella is incredibly versatile, and fabulous served fresh with tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, or served baked into a ziti or ravioli. Of course mozzarella can also be piled high on a pizza or stuffed into a calzone.

From the Region: The area south and west of Naples

Aged: As little as possible. Best the same day it’s made, or a day or two after.

Fun Fact: This cheese is not from cows but from water buffalo. Possessing an exceptional depth of flavor and sweetness, Mozzarealla di Bufala is unique among all cheeses. It’s moist, sweet, tender, soft, buttery, and creamy… all in one bite.

Provolone A great sandwich cheese, it’s a cornerstone of our Club.

From the Region: Basilicata, in Southern Italy, but now provolone is made and enjoyed throughout the country, in different shapes and styles.

Aged: Varies greatly from a few months to over a year. More age means sharper, more intense flavor.

Fun Fact: Provolone is made by rubbing down mozzarella in brine and oil, wrapping it in rope, and hanging it to dry, harden, and transform. Provolone is flavorful, salty and slightly oily. Note: What you purchase in supermarkets is not authentic provolone and pales in comparison.

Please join us for lunch or dinner and taste what we can do with any and all these delicious cheeses.