Italian Restaurants in Ottawa Offer a Whole World of Flavourful Cheeses
No matter where you’re from, there’s no denying one simple truth: cheese is an amazing thing. It can add wonderful and sensuous flavours and textures to nearly any dish. We melt it, we put it on sandwiches and burgers, and we even make desserts out of it. But when it comes to appreciation of a good cheese, Italian food and culture takes the cheesecake. Here are some of the finest cheeses you can find in Italian restaurants in Ottawa:
Now it may sound a little obvious, but bear with me for a moment here. Unless you’ve tried it in one of Ottawa’s fine Italian ByWard Market Restaurants, chances are, you’ve never tried the real deal (that stuff from the grocery store or late-night pizza shop doesn’t count). Traditionally spun from the milk of water buffalos or whole cow’s milk, mozzarella is moist and tender, and is an effortless addition to nearly any dish.
An Italian blue cheese named for the small town of Gorgonzola from whence it came, it comes in two varieties. The sweeter dolce is creamy and soft, while the aged naturale is sharper and tends to crumble. Gorgonzola’s savoury garlicy taste pairs well with red wines, salads, and even pears.
This famous staple of Italian restaurants in Ottawa is a complex and flavourful blend that can be aged for anywhere up to 36 months to achieve optimal flavour. While often served grated, Parmigiano Reggiano will retain more flavour if you buy it whole and grate it over your pasta yourself.
This firm cheese is to be found in many ByWard Market Restaurants, and like gorgonzola, it comes in a wide variety of flavours, depending how aged it is. You can tell a provolone’s age by how yellow it is – the more yellow, the sharper the flavour. It’s wonderful on sandwiches, or with pork roasts or meatballs.
Mascarpone is one of the sweetest cheeses you’ll find in an Italian restaurant in Ottawa. This cow’s milk cheese is creamy, smooth, and thick, with a consistency like cream cheese. It makes a wonderful dessert, and is a main ingredient in tiramisu. It’s also used in mousse and cheesecake, and is delicious served with berries.
These are of course only the highlights of Italian cheeses – there is a whole world of flavour to explore! If there’s something on this list that you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing, or if you’ve tried them all and want to discover more, there’s no time like the present to try a fine Italian dish from a ByWard Market restaurant!