Hard cheese is a term used to describe a well-aged pungent cheese with a dry, crumbly texture that makes it suitable for grating and cooking. If hard cheese develops a small area of surface mold, it is easily scraped off and does no harm to the cheese underneath.
Pecorino Romano cheese has its origins in central and southern Italy. Made from sheep's milk containing 35 percent fat, it has a sharper flavor than Parmesan and is aged in large cylinders with yellow rinds. Romano cheese easily complements an antipasto tray. Parmigiano-Reggiano, made from cow's milk, originated near Parma, Italy. Primarily used as a grated cheese, Parmigiano is formed into 80-pound wheels that are suspended for several weeks in salt water to wick out moisture, then aged for two years. Asiago, with a consistency similar to cheddar cheese, is made from 30 percent cow's milk and aged for one year.