Formaggio Vaccino, Caprino, Pecorino, what do we know about Formaggio Italiano?

Italian cheese, Italian Culture Conversation, Italian Academy

‘Formaggio vaccino, caprino, pecorino, venite alla macchina dei latticini locali (come to the car of our local milk products)…’ shouts the man in the white van around Botricello’s lanes, our small Calabrian village. What a great idea: here in the south of Italy shops are on wheels and they come to your house!

Italian conversation, Italian Beginners, Italian culture
Negozi ambulanti, shops on whiles in the South of Italy!

Ma, cosa significa formaggio (what does formaggio mean)? You all know, of course: cheese!

Surely, all of you love formaggio italiano, so let’s get ready to approach the man in the white van or the bancone del formaggio (cheese counter;-) in the supermarket.

I am almost sure that you all know about Pecorino. You can easily find it in Irish supermarkets nowaday. In Ireland, it is known as a hard type of cheese and it’s often grated on pasta. Ma (but), what does formaggio pecorino mean? 

In order to fully understand the meaning, we have to go back to the word (la) pecora. Pecora significa (means) sheep. Therefore, formaggio pecorino is cheese made using sheep’s milk! And there are hundreds of types of it with different texture, consistency and taste: from the softest ricotta to the hard Pecorino cheese.

Italian proverbs, Italian culture, Italian academy
La pecora (sheep), la capra (goat) e la vacca (cow)

Back to the man in the white man: Formaggio vaccino, what does vaccino mean? 

Let’s go back to the word (la) vacca. Vacca significa (means) cow. Therefore, formaggio vaccino is cheese made using cow’s milk! And there are thousands of types of it around the world. 

You might know that we do have another word for cow in Italian: (la) mucca. This is a newer word and probably comes from the sound that the cow makes (mu) or from the verb mungere (to milk). 

Finally, the man in the white van or in the ‘Macchina dei latticini locali’ (car of the milk products) advertises also ‘Formaggio Caprino’. We already know the drill

Capra significa (means) goat. Therefore, formaggio caprino is cheese made using goat’s milk! We also have several types of formaggio caprino. 

Now we are ready to get our formaggio priorities in order when we approach the man in the white van. Just be sure that the back of the van is a refrigerator full of great cheese (vaccino, pecorino or caprino) like the one in the picture ;-)))) and enjoy!

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