What is Romano Cheese?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Romano cheese is a traditional Italian cheese, named after the city of Rome, which has been manufacturing it since before the birth of Christ. The cheese has a rich creamy yellow color, a slightly granular texture, and a sharp, tangy, salty flavor, and is usually grated over other dishes, although it can be eaten plain. The technique used to make Romano cheese involves rummaging the curd, meaning that the curds of the cheese are drained and pierced before being salted and brined, yielding a unique hard cheese which is popular all over the world.

A milder version of Romano cheese uses cow milk.
A milder version of Romano cheese uses cow milk.

There are several different types of this cheese. True Pecorino Romano cheese is made from sheep's milk, and has a protected origin designation from the Italian government, meaning that only certain cheeses can be labeled as Pecorino Romano. To be considered a Pecorino, a cheese must be made between October and July in a certain part of Italy, and with milk from specific sheep. In addition, the cheese must be round, and meet minimum weight requirements. These stringent protections ensure that the heritage of Pecorino Romano will be protected, and that consumers know what they are getting when they purchase a Pecorino cheese.

Shaved Pecorino Romana can add a tangy, salty flavor to pizza.
Shaved Pecorino Romana can add a tangy, salty flavor to pizza.

Other types of Romano cheese include Caprino Romano, a particularly sharp version made with goat milk, and a mild version made from cow milk, Vacchino Romano. Especially in the United States, most Romano is made from cow milk, because Americans are more used to the mild taste, although some cheese makers use milk blends to capture some of the traditional flavor. In all cases, the cheese will be aged for a minimum of five months, and longer if it is intended for grating.

Although Romano can be found in a pre-grated form, it is better to purchase a wedge of cheese, as the wedge will retain moisture and freshness. When selecting a wedge of Romano cheese, try to taste cheese from that wheel, if possible. Most reputable cheese dealers will provide you with a small sample, which you should roll around in your mouth so that all of your taste buds can sense the flavor. A high quality Romano cheese will have a rich, creamy flavor and a mildly crunchy granular feeling. If it is not possible to taste the cheese, look for a wedge with even color, and no signs of cracking, excessive dryness, or moisture.

Romano is among several cheeses commonly made from sheep's milk.
Romano is among several cheeses commonly made from sheep's milk.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Romano is one the best! I cannot find it in Colombia. Why?


My aunt used to slice the romano cheese imported from Italy with a couple of slices of imported hard Italian salami on a slice of hard crusted soft inside french bread. That was back in the early 1940's, and nothing tastes the same. Back in the day is when the flavor was superior and they cannot duplicate the flavor from the past. Marlene from California


@Tomislav - I love cheese as well! And although it does usually have a good amount of fat and calories, it has a lot of nutrients as well.

For example, there are 110 calories in Romano Cheese (in 1 ounce of the cheese) and 7.6 grams of fat (so that doesn't quite make it low fat) but it also has 30 percent of your daily calcium needs.

So in moderation Romano cheese makes a great addition to your diet!


@Sinbad - I would have to suggest Locatelli Romano Cheese it is one of the oldest types of cheeses so it you can really taste what traditional Romano cheese tastes like with that cheese.

I would suggest pairing the cheese with wine as it does have such a strong taste which makes it a good match for many tasty red wines!

Does anyone know if Romano cheese is a low fat cheese?


I was curious about Romano cheese because I had bought what I thought was just your typical generic shredded Parmesan cheese (you know the kind that come in those green topped plastic shaker containers).

But when I opened it I smelled something different than Parmesan and took a closer look at the label and found I had purchased Parmesan Romano cheese!

It was so good! I felt the Romano added even more depth the tasty Parmesan that I had to find out more about this cheese.

And I can definitely recommend the Parmesan Romano cheese combo! Now I am ready to try just fresh Romano, any suggestions?


@anon91119 - Typically cheeses are gluten free because gluten is found in wheat so gluten is more typically found in those type products such as bread, pasta, crackers, etc.

Items such as chips made from corn and potatoes, vegetables, and cheese should all be gluten-free!


I need to know if romano cheese is gluten free.


I love cheese!


Does Romano cheese made with sheep's milk contain carbohydrates?

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