Exploring the Perfect Pairings: The 5 Best Cheeses to Enjoy with Prosciutto

Exploring the best cheeses to pair with prosciutto

Prosciutto, a dry-cured ham with a salty and savory flavor, is a delicacy enjoyed on its own or as part of a delicious wine and cheese pairing. When it comes to choosing the perfect cheese to pair with prosciutto, it’s important to choose options that are flavorful, creamy, and bold enough to stand up to the rich flavors of the ham. In this article, we will explore five of the best cheeses to pair with prosciutto, each offering a unique flavor experience that perfectly complements the cured meat.

1. Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano, also known as Parmesan, is a famous Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. Originating from Parma and Reggio Emilia in Italy, this hard and grainy cheese is often referred to as the “king of cheeses”. Its strong, savory flavor and nutty, fruity undertones make it an excellent pairing with prosciutto. Both Parmigiano Reggiano and prosciutto originate in Italy and undergo a meticulous aging process that enhances their flavors. The sharpness of Parmigiano Reggiano perfectly complements the flavor of prosciutto, making it a popular choice for meat and cheese platters.

2. Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano, another hard cheese, is made from sheep’s milk and has a natural sweetness and saltiness. This cheese has a slightly grassy and earthy flavor with buttery notes, making it a delightful accompaniment to prosciutto. With its grainy texture, Pecorino Romano adds a unique dimension to the pairing. It is a popular grating cheese for pizzas and is often served with cured meats in Tuscany and other parts of central Italy. Consider serving Pecorino Romano with prosciutto with a fresh green salad, steamed vegetables or freshly baked bread for a complete culinary experience.

3. Provolone

Provolone is a semi-hard Italian cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It is highly prized for its complex flavor profile and captivating aroma, making it an excellent choice for pairing with meats such as salami and prosciutto. Provolone has a smooth and delicate texture that contrasts beautifully with the sweet and salty flavors of prosciutto. When choosing provolone to pair with prosciutto, look for the more mature varieties as they offer a more intense flavor. Smoked provolone adds an extra layer of complexity to the pairing and is ideal for making prosciutto panini.

4. Asiago

Asiago is an Italian cheese that can vary in texture, color, and flavor profile depending on the aging process and production method. The two main types of Asiago are Asiago Pressato and Asiago d’Allevo. Asiago Pressato has a semi-soft texture and a smooth, creamy consistency. It has a mild and sweet flavor, while Asiago d’Allevo includes three different cheeses at different stages of aging: Asiago Mezzano, Asiago Vecchio, and Asiago Stravecchio. Asiago cheeses have a sweet and nutty flavor that pairs well with prosciutto. The older varieties, such as asiago vecchio and asiago stravecchio, have a harder texture and a richer, nuttier flavor compared to the sweeter flavor of asiago mezzano.

5. Buffalo Mozzarella

Buffalo mozzarella, also known as mozzarella di bufala, is a soft and creamy cheese that pairs beautifully with prosciutto. Unlike regular mozzarella, which is made from cow’s milk and is a staple of Italian cuisine, buffalo mozzarella is made from the milk of water buffalo. It has a richer, creamier and more indulgent flavor profile. The soft and buttery texture of prosciutto blends seamlessly with the mild, sweet and creamy flavors of buffalo mozzarella, creating a classic combination that is sure to please the palate. Although a more expensive option, buffalo mozzarella is considered one of the most sought-after cheeses in the world. For a more budget-friendly alternative, regular mozzarella can also be enjoyed with prosciutto, albeit with a slightly less creamy texture.

Final Thoughts

The pairing of ham and cheese is a heavenly union that has captivated food lovers for generations. While the aforementioned cheeses are among the best options for pairing with prosciutto, there are countless other varieties to explore. Swiss, feta, halloumi, and even blue cheeses like Italian gorgonzola can offer unique flavor profiles that enhance the overall experience. When choosing cheeses to pair with prosciutto, consider the strength of flavors, textures, and complementary characteristics. Whether you choose the nutty and savory notes of Parmigiano Reggiano, the earthiness of Pecorino Romano, the delicate and smooth Provolone, the sweet and nutty Asiago, or the creamy indulgence of Buffalo Mozzarella, each cheese brings its own unique qualities to the table. Experimenting with different combinations is part of the fun of discovering the perfect pairing.
In conclusion, prosciutto and cheese are a match made in culinary heaven. The best cheeses to pair with prosciutto are those that can stand up to its intense flavors while complementing its salty and savory flavor. Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, Provolone, Asiago, and Buffalo Mozzarella are all excellent choices that offer unique flavor experiences. Whether you’re preparing an elegant charcuterie board, a tasty sandwich, or a delicious pasta dish, these cheeses will elevate the flavors and create a memorable dining experience. So go ahead, indulge yourself in the world of prosciutto and cheese pairings and discover your own personal favorite combination.


What makes ham and cheese a popular combination?

Prosciutto and cheese complement each other perfectly because the rich, salty and savory flavors of the ham are beautifully balanced by the creamy, tangy or nutty profiles of various cheeses.

Can I combine prosciutto with soft cheeses?

While prosciutto traditionally pairs well with harder and crumbly cheeses, it can also be enjoyed with soft cheeses such as buffalo mozzarella. The contrast in texture makes for an interesting dining experience.

Are there vegetarian-friendly alternatives to prosciutto?

Yes, vegetarians can explore alternatives such as plant-based prosciutto or thinly sliced roasted vegetables to create delicious cheese pairings that mimic the flavors and textures of traditional prosciutto.

Can I experiment with other cheeses not mentioned in the article?

Absolutely! The cheeses mentioned in the article are excellent choices, but there are a wide variety of cheeses that can be paired with prosciutto. Feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses and discover new combinations.

Can I pair prosciutto with blue cheese?

While blue cheeses can be bold and intense in flavor, they can still create interesting flavor combinations with prosciutto. Gorgonzola, for example, with its creamy and slightly tangy flavor, can provide a unique contrast to the saltiness of prosciutto.

Can I serve the cheese and ham pairing in a particular dish?

The Cheese and Ham Pairing can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as on a charcuterie board, in sandwiches or paninis, or as part of pasta dishes and salads. The choice of presentation depends on your personal preference and the occasion.