The world of cheese is vast, as anyone who's spent time sampling the dozens of cheese varieties available will certainly be aware of. Within the endless variety of cheeses, one distinctive type that stands out among the rest is Romano cheese. If you're new to cheese-making or wondering what Romano cheese is, you've come to the right place.
Originating in Italy, Romano cheese is an aged and hard type of cheese that's best known for its intense flavor, which is earned from its lengthy aging process. It's made from sheep's milk — or a mix of sheep's and goat's milk — and its production process can take at least four months before it's ready for sale. Usually, the larger the wheel of Romano cheese, the longer it has been allowed to age, resulting in an increasingly intense flavor profile.
The sharp, tangy taste of Romano cheese has been beloved by cheese aficionados for centuries. Its aging process is responsible for its complex flavor, a wonderful combination of robust, salty notes balanced with a slightly sweet, floral undertone. Additionally, the texture is solid and crumbly, making it a great choice for both slicing and grating over food.
Romano cheese is unique in both production process and flavor. Its production process is highly lengthy and complex, as producers must make sure to regularly check the wheels as they mature. Once the producer has determined the Romano cheese has reached its optimum age, the wheels are then soaked in both white and red wines, which helps them to develop their unique flavor.
When tasting a Romano cheese, you should expect to find notes of pungency, sweetness, and saltiness. Some have even described the flavor of a Romano cheese as being nutty or fruity, with a hint of bitterness.
You may know Romano cheese best as the grated variety typically sold pre-packaged in most grocery stores. But its wide range of uses are worth noting. On its own, Romano cheese is a delicious snack or dessert cheese, as its complex flavor will pair nicely with anything from crackers to grapes. Grated Romano cheese is usually featured in Italian recipes, as its nutty flavor will enhance any dish it's added to. In Italian cuisine, the Pecorino Romano — a more widely available variety of Romano cheese — is typically used as a seasoning over pasta dishes, salads, and soups.
For those looking to explore beyond pre-packaged Romano cheese, exploring a local Italian cheese shop will give you the opportunity to find handmade Romano cheese wheels that have been aged for the optimal amount of time. Not only will you learn about the history and production process of Romano cheese, but you'll be able to sample the varieties available before you buy.
Whether you're a cheese lover or an aspiring home cheese-maker, it's worth taking a journey through the world of Romano cheese. Its complex flavor and lengthy production process make it one of the most beloved varieties in Italy and beyond. With a bit of exploration, you'll be able to find the perfect Romano cheese for you.