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This short, concise list of Italian cheese terms will help you read the label and understand the taste terms, and will also assist with reading Italian menus. There are additionally some technical cheesemaking terms defined here, let us know what we can add to make the list more complete!

Italian Cheese Glossary


Affumicato – smoked
Amarognolo – slightly bitter, a term aficionados use
Aromatico – aromatic
Aspro – sharp
Bufula (formaggo di) – buffalo´s cheese
Burroso – buttery
Cagliata – curd
Caglio – rennet
Capra – (formaggo di)- goat´s cheese
Caprino – fresh goat´s cheese
Caratteristico – characteristic
Caseificio – Dairy, cheesemaker
Coltello da formaggio – cheese knife
Delicato – delicate
Dolce – literally “sweet”, but for cheese it is used to mean the flavors are round, neither sharp nor spicy
Duro – hard
Erborinato – Blue cheese, usually cow´s cheese.
Formaggio – cheese
Formaggio alle erbe – cheese with herbs
Formaggio alle noci – cheese with walnuts
Formaggio erborinato – blue cheese
Formaggi al carrello – cheese trolley
Forte – strong
Fresco – fresh, young
Fruttato – fruity
Fuso – melted
Grattugiato – grated
Intenso – intense
Ircino – used to refer to the typical flavor of goat´s cheese
Latteo – milky
Maturazione– maturation (aging)
Morbido – soft (cheese)
Muffe – cheese mold
Muschiato – used to refer to the flavor of buffalo milk
Pecora (formaggo di)- sheep´s cheese
Piccante – spicy, often used to describe certain goats cheeses
Ricotta – re-cooked, cottage cheese
Salamoia – brine
Sapido – used to describe very savory cheeses
Siero di latte – Whey
Speziato – spiced, used to refer to cheeses that have a nuance of a spice (such as nutmeg)
Stagionato – matured

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