What is Quattrocento Cheese?

Quattrocento is a traditional Italian hard cheese made from cow's milk. The name "Quattrocento" means "four hundred" in Italian, referring to the 400 litres of milk used to make each wheel of this cheese.

What is Quattrocento Cheese

Quattrocento has a rich, tangy and slightly sweet flavor with crystalline granules that provide a distinctive texture. It is an excellent alternative to Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano.

How Quattrocento Cheese is Made

Quattrocento is produced using artisanal techniques that have been passed down for generations in Italy. Here is an overview of the traditional production process:

Raw Ingredients

Quattrocento is made from two simple ingredients:

  • Raw cow's milk: Fresh milk sourced from Italian dairy farms.
  • Natural whey culture: Contains active lactic bacteria that start the fermentation process.

Curdling the Milk

The raw milk is poured into copper kettles called "caldaias" and gently warmed. Natural whey culture is added to curdle the milk and separate the curds from the whey.

Draining and Pressing

The curd is drained from the whey and placed into molds. It is pressed to remove excess moisture and compact the curd. This gives Quattrocento its distinctive shape.


The cheese wheels are immersed in brine or rubbed with dry salt to absorb salt evenly throughout the cheese. The salt helps inhibit bacteria growth while enhancing flavor.


Wheels of Quattrocento are aged on wooden shelves for 12-18 months in temperature and humidity controlled cellars. This long aging time allows complex flavors to develop.


Throughout aging, the wheels are inspected regularly. The Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano inspects all cheese labeled as Quattrocento to ensure quality standards.

Key Takeaway: Quattrocento is made using a time-honored process centered on two ingredients: raw Italian cow's milk and natural whey culture. The cheese is molded, pressed, salted, then carefully aged for a minimum of 12 months.

Unique Characteristics of Quattrocento

Quattrocento has several characteristics that distinguish it from other Italian hard cheeses:

Made from 100% Italian Milk

  • Sourced from cows on small to medium farms in northern Italy
  • Milk produced according to Italian animal welfare standards
  • Gives Quattrocento a rich, creamy flavor

Aged 12-18 Months

  • One of the longest aging times among Italian grana cheeses
  • Allows full development of complex, tangy flavors
  • Produces distinctive crystalline texture


  • Uses microbial rennet, not animal-derived rennet
  • Allows people following vegetarian diets to enjoy this authentic Italian cheese

Available Pre-Grated

  • Saves time prepping in restaurant kitchens
  • Convenient for quick meals at home
  • Versatile for topping pastas, salads, and pizzas

Clean Ingredients

  • No preservatives or additives
  • Gluten-free
  • Ideal for the increasing demand for clean label foods

Key Takeaway: From its long aging time to vegetarian-friendly microbial rennet, Quattrocento has unique traits that set it apart from typical Italian hard cheeses.

How Does Quattrocento Taste Compared to Parmesan?

Quattrocento has some similarities to Parmigiano Reggiano in flavor and texture, but also key differences that give it a distinctive profile.


  • Quattrocento: Rich dairy and nutty aromas
  • Parmesan: Sharper, more pungent aroma


  • Quattrocento: Balanced sweet and savory with fruity notes
  • Parmesan: Robust umami and salty flavors


  • Quattrocento: Smooth yet crystalline crunch
  • Parmesan: Flakier and brittle texture


  • Quattrocento: Milder level of sharpness
  • Parmigiano Reggiano: More intensely sharp and tangy

Use in Cooking

  • Quattrocento: Excellent melty properties when cooked
  • Parmigiano Reggiano: Tends to become oily when melted

Quattrocento has a more subtle nutty sweetness compared to the intense salty punch of Parmesan. Quattrocento also melts smoothly, making it ideal for cooking.

Key Takeaway: With its milder nutty flavor and creamy meltability, Quattrocento differs from the sharper saltiness and flakier texture of Parmesan.

What Dishes to Use Quattrocento Cheese For

Thanks to its complex flavor and smooth melting properties, Quattrocento can elevate a variety of savory dishes:


Grate or shave Quattrocento over hot pasta for an instant flavor boost. Its mild sharpness won't overpower delicate pasta. Quattrocento also melts beautifully into creamy pasta sauces.


Adding shredded Quattrocento on pizza gives great flavor without making the pie oily. It melts evenly across the surface.


Shavings or a creamy dressing made with Quattrocento can take a salad to the next level. It pairs well with bitter greens like arugula.


Stir grated Quattrocento into simmering soups just before serving. It provides a hit of rich, savory flavor.


Roast cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or asparagus with a sprinkle of grated Quattrocento for delicious caramelized bits.


A few shavings of Quattrocento in a pressed panini add nutty notes and melt into the other ingredients.

Key Takeaway: From pasta to pizza, Quattrocento's creamy melt and tang works well in a wide variety of hot and cold dishes.

UseWhy it Works Well
PastaMelts smoothly into creamy sauces
PizzaAdds flavor without oiliness
SaladsPairs well with bitter greens
SoupsProvides rich, savory flavor
VegetablesCaramelizes when roasted
SandwichesMelts beautifully into pressed panini
Dishes that Quattrocento cheese pairs well with

How to Store Quattrocento Correctly

To keep Quattrocento fresh and prevent mold growth, proper storage is important:

  • Keep refrigerated at all times, ideally at 40°F (4°C) or lower.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Limit air exposure.
  • Place in air-tight container or bag if cut.
  • Avoid freezing, as texture suffers when thawed.
  • If mold appears, discard outer 1/4 inch and rewrap remainder.
  • Consume within 3-4 weeks of opening for best quality.
  • Grated Quattrocento has shorter shelf life of 1-2 weeks.
  • Look for oily spots, off odors, or change in color to identify spoilage.

With proper refrigeration and minimal air exposure, an uncut wheel of Quattrocento can last for months. But small pieces should be consumed within a few weeks.

Key Takeaway: To maximize freshness, store Quattrocento refrigerated, tightly wrapped at 40°F (4°C) or below. Once opened, consume grated Quattrocento within 1-2 weeks.

Quattrocento Nutrition Facts

Like most cheeses, Quattrocento packs a nutritious punch. Here are some of its nutrition facts per 1 ounce (28g) serving:

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Calcium: 18% Daily Value
  • Phosphorus: 12% DV
  • Zinc: 6% DV

Quattrocento is high in protein and calcium, essential for building muscle and bone health. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat associated with weight loss.

However, it is relatively high in sodium at 170mg per serving. And the saturated fat may need limiting for heart health.

Overall, enjoying Quattrocento in moderation as part of balanced diet can provide valuable nutrition. Just be mindful of your daily saturated fat and sodium intake.

Key Takeaway: Quattrocento cheese delivers protein, calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients. But it is high in sodium and saturated fat, so enjoy in moderation.

Quattrocento Cheese Facts

Here are some quick facts to get to know this traditional Italian cheese:

  • Made from 400 liters of milk per wheel
  • Aged for minimum 12 months up to 18+ months
  • Produced by Granarolo dairy co-op in Italy
  • Alternative to Parmesan or Grana Padano
  • Suitable for vegetarian and gluten free diets
  • Available as wedges or grated
  • Sweet, tangy, nutty flavor
  • Smooth, crystalline texture
  • Melts beautifully when cooked
  • Shelf life around 3-4 weeks once opened

With its long aging time, smooth melt, and subtle sweet flavor, Quattrocento adds authentic Italian flair to any dish!

Key Takeaway: Quattrocento is a traditional cow's milk cheese made from 400 liters of Italian milk per wheel and aged over 12 months to develop complex flavor.


Is Quattrocento vegetarian?

Yes, Quattrocento is vegetarian-friendly because it uses microbial rennet, not animal-derived rennet.

Is Quattrocento gluten free?

Yes, Quattrocento cheese contains no gluten ingredients.

What's the difference between Quattrocento and Parmesan?

Quattrocento has a milder, sweeter flavor compared to the sharper saltiness of Parmesan. It also melts more smoothly.

What pasta dishes pair well with Quattrocento?

Quattrocento pairs nicely with lighter pastas like angel hair or linguine. Its mild flavor won't overpower delicate pasta.

Can you freeze Quattrocento cheese?

It's best not to freeze Quattrocento. The texture suffers when thawed after freezing. Refrigeration is recommended for storage.

Is Quattrocento good for sandwiches?

Yes! A few thin slices of Quattrocento in a pressed sandwich provide great flavor and melt beautifully when heated.

What wine goes well with Quattrocento?

Try a light, high acid white wine like Pinot Grigio. The tanginess contrasts nicely with Quattrocento's sweet nuttiness.


With its melt-in-your-mouth texture, sweet and tangy flavor, smooth melt, and long aging time, Quattrocento brings authentic Italian cheese craftsmanship to any dish.

Sourced from small Italian dairy farms and made using old-world techniques, Quattrocento's distinctive characteristics make it stand out from other Italian hard cheeses.

While similar to Parmesan in some ways, Quattrocento has a more subtle, fruity flavor profile. This vegetarian-friendly cheese shines in pasta, on pizza, with roasted veggies, and beyond.

As a high-quality artisanal cheese, Quattrocento cheese is perfect for those looking for an authentic Italian ingredient to level up their cooking.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions