Romano: the cheese that packs a punch

Romano is a cheese that can turn the flavor up to 11. Bolder, tangier, saltier, and a lil' bit bossier than its cousin parmesan, this hard and full-bodied cheese isn't fooling around. When you want to put your pastas, steamed vegetables, broiled fish, or baked breadsticks on the fast track to a flavor high, let romano pay them a little visit.

In Italy, romano cheese can be made with cow's, goat's, or sheep's milk (the well-known pecorino romano). Here in Wisconsin, we make this flavor heavy-weight with cow's milk, so it's a little milder, lighter, and less fatty than the Italian versions. But don't let it fool you – Wisconsin romano can still pack a knock-out punch. And we'll go 15 rounds with romano by our side anytime.

Pairing romano with respect

You can use romano in any recipe that calls for parmesan or asiago, and you'll get even more of a flavor spike. When pasta, pizza, or hearty stews are on the menu, we like to set the table with a bowl of freshly grated romano. Quiches, omelets, and frittatas all perk up in romano's presence, and sprinkle of romano over fish, chicken, or vegetables before roasting will definitely dial-up the zing factor.

When mulling over your cheese and wine pairing, we recommend a big tannic Italian red like chianti, especially if you're snacking on bites of romano from a charcuterie board. A full-bodied chardonnay, sangiovese, barbera d'alba, montepulciano, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, or grappa can also hold their own with romano. For beers, try a crisp pilsner or an off-dry hard cider.

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FAQs: What is romano cheese?

What is romano cheese?

Romano cheese is a hard Italian-style cheese type that originated near Rome. Romano has a bold, nutty flavor with a tangy finish, and a grainy texture makes it easy to grate. Romano may be made from sheep's or goat's milk but for our world famous Wisconsin Romano we use cow's milk.

How is romano cheese made?

Romano is made with a technique called "rummaging curd," where the curd is drained very quickly after it is molded, and the surface is pierced before salt is applied. Romano is an aged cheese – it must be aged at least five months before it is sold and is often aged may be aged 8-12 months.

How is romano different from parmesan or asiago?

Asiago is a moister, milder, hard to semi-soft cheese that can be melted or grated. Parmesan is a hard and dry cheese with a stronger flavor that asiago. Romano has the sharpest flavor of the three and is drier and harder than parmesan.

Raving over romano from Wisconsin

When you want a real romano, look to Wisconsin. We've been making Italian-style cheeses for over 175 years, ever since our Italian immigrant ancestors showed up in the dairy lands of Wisconsin with little more than their favorite recipes from the homeland. Today, our 1,200 cheesemakers make one-quarter of all the cheese produced in the U.S., and nearly one-half of all artisan cheese, including a romano to rave about.

Cheese is a big part of life here in Wisconsin – 90% of all the milk produced on our prolific dairy farms goes to making cheese. We're the only state that requires a license to make cheese, and the only place in the world outside Switzerland that has a Master Cheesemaker program.

Which is all to say that, having won more awards for our cheese than any other state or country (yes that includes Italy – sorry, Italy), we take our cheese responsibilities seriously. That's why, when you're grating a Wisconsin romano into your pasta, you know you're giving those noodles the best dang cheese this world has to offer.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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