Italian cheese is being celebrated on the country’s postal stamps as part of a marketing initiative to celebrate “Made in Italy” products. Only select cheeses are being represented and in the future we will find: mozzarella di bufala, gorgonzola, parmigiano reggiano and ragusano (from Sicily).
The initiative was announced by the Italian postal service at Milan’s international stamp fair, Milanofil. The four stamps cost 60 euro cents each and will portray the four famous Italian cheeses in their most typical style.
The mozzarella has its round shape, but stamps will also be dedicated to the distinctive plaits and knots that are created during the cheese-making process. Both creamy and hard texture gorgonzola can be found, and the parmigiano reggiano and ragusano are depicted both whole and in pieces.
If you’re a stamp collector and are interested in these unusual Italian postal stamps, you can find them in post offices around Italy after they first debuted in Novara, Reggio Emilia, Ragusa, Milan and Naples.
There are many Italian cheeses that you can treat yourself to, and often the enjoyment is increased by choosing the right side serve for your cheese. With soft cheeses, aged cheese and everything right down to the simple ricotta or mozzarella, Italy has much to offer. But if you experiment with other traditional Italian products like marmalade, jams and other sweet or savoury accompaniments, you will find yourself in a real cheese paradise.
For example, with the asiago cheese from Trentino, you could try a “radicchio” or chicory condiment, where the bitter taste of the vegetable works well with the slightly mature cheese. A soft cheese, but with a strong taste, like “caciotta” blends nicely with a forest fruit or strawberry and raspberry jam, with its slightly sour taste.
A classic marriage of Italian cheese and condiment is a vintage pecorino with fig jam. Its perfume and sweetness blends nicely, and the fig accompaniment can be used for harder cheeses like parmigiano reggiano (parmesan) or grana padano.
Photo | Flickr
It’s difficult to tell whether we’re in economic crisis or not around these parts, as shares bounce up and down and consumers are still spending. One Italian product in crisis though, is the famous cheese Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano. Cooperatives for the protection of these cheeses have already applied to Italy’s agricultural minister Luca Zaia for a solution to the problem.
Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano are extremely important in Italy’s agricultural partimony and enogastronomic tradition. They are among the products at the forefront of Italy’s DOP system of protecting its traditional food products. The strategy to address the Parmigiano Reggiano crisis includes the government purchasing a large amount of the product to give in donation to the poor and discussions regarding the appreciation and protection of Italy’s DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) products overseas.
Whatever happens, Italy’s poor could find themselves with wonderful, exquisite examples of Italy’s premier cheese, all in the name of helping out the producers. Enlightened economics or not?
Photo | Flickr