Geography can be interesting, but did you ever think it could be tasty too? It is, when you discover cheeses that are named for places you can point to on a map. Gather friends to explore the world — taste by taste.
While the names of some cheeses are generic — blue, feta, and brick — many others are named for the towns or regions where they are made. Delicious examples include Manchego (made in Spain's famous La Mancha region), Brie (named for an area south and east of Paris) and Parmigiano-Reggiano, named for the city of Parma, Italy.
What's in a name?
Many cheese producers would say a lot! For example, some food artisans strongly feel that climate, wind, altitude, soil and local traditions greatly influence their products — so much that their cheeses simply could not be replicated elsewhere in the world. In fact, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Manchego and varieties of Brie have achieved what's known as name-protected status, meaning that by law, no one outside of their regions can call their products by those names.
Conveniently, these and other world-class cheeses are available at Publix. Here's how to showcase them at your next gathering to give everyone a taste of place:
- Manchego: This sheep's milk cheese goes beautifully with olives, nuts and a nice fruity red wine from Rioja.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano: Sharp and nutty, this cheese is especially irresistible when paired with thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma, another specialty of Northern Italy. Serve with a fruity Lambrusco and those who love sweeter wines will thank you.
- Brie: Choose dried fruits, such as figs, plums and dates, to serve with this creamy, buttery French cheese. Reach for a rich Merlot or Cabernet to sip.
- Dubliner Irish Cheese: Fresh green and red grapes go nicely with this somewhat Cheddar-like cheese. Try with a fruity Beaujolais.