My favorite Italian word used to be “scoiattolo” (squirrel), but this spring I demoted it and crowned “lo squaquarello” queen. Was it because its soft creamy texture tempted me? Nope. It appeals to another sense: my ears. Its spoken sound makes me smile. Who the heck knows why? I stopped trying to understand my affinity with phonetics years ago.
Lo squaquarello is a fresh, mild, cow’s milk cheese that’s typically eaten with bread or grissini, the breadsticks you see above (and typical in Piemonte). While I wasn’t able to track down much information on this cheese, I’m fairly confident it’s regarded in the same ‘family’ as the more popular fresh cow’s milk cheese called Crescenza (also stracchino). I’ve only twice seen this cheese in the US: once at Penn Mac in Pittsburgh, and once at Wegmans in New Jersey. Both spottings were of blocks that had passed their expiration date, though, so I didn’t bother buying them. Bel Gioioso apparently makes this cheese for the US. but I wonder which markets it sells it in.
This evening I realized I haven’t eaten a course of cheese since returning from Europe two and a half weeks ago! What’s that about?