An Italian proverb says “Do not let the peasant know how good cheese is with pears”. One of its metaphorical meanings, in short, advises not to be mysterious with those who perfectly know all the facts.
This popular saying, probably of French origin, testifies to how cheese is considered a food at the very basis of nutrition, because it derives from milk, symbolically and literally the primeval food par excellence. Cheese is a product linked to the image of peasant cuisine, humble, suitable to be kept in the pantries for the times of the year when the land was not generous.
Like other historical paradoxes, nowadays cheese has won a place of honor on everyone's tables, from the less affluent to gala dinners, from snacks with the family to real dedicated events.
On the menus they own to a separate category, while in the restaurant they are used as ingredients, but also served as appetizers alongside cured meats, honey, jams, compotes and marmalades. The charcuterie boards, which the less sophisticated can call taglieri di formaggi, are appreciated by every generation, including young people who have even invented a trend on social media for this preparation.
Thus, what for us is a dish that we almost take for granted - even though we love it madly - abroad has become one of the emblems of Made in Italy cuisine.
And which are the most popular beyond national borders?
What foreigners seem to particularly love is that cheeses have a strong local identity. They love the tradition, the processing, the aging, the care, the charm of history that has transformed milk into elements that are always so different and tasty, enjoyable by any palate.
Therefore, a ranking of the best sellers abroad could be:
Parmigiano Reggiano DOP
Grana Padano PDO
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP
Pecorino Romano DOP
Provolone Valpadana DOP
Even the data on exports confirm a positive trend, despite a complex economic and social situation, and in 2022 Italy was the first supplier of cheese to the United States, where the "culture" of the cutting board has been enormously successful in the last years.
The approaching Christmas period promises to be full of good auspices from this point of view, with numerous varieties of cheese served everywhere: from the company party to dinner at the restaurant, from traditional family lunch to appetizers for guests.
On the other hand, the farmer already knows this secret very well.