A semi-soft Italian cheese, Bel Paese was invented in 1906 by Egidio Galbani in Melzo, in Lombardy, Italy, when Galbani wanted to produce a mild and delicate cheese. Translated, Bel Paese means ‘beautiful country’, and is taken from the title of a book by geologist Antonio Stoppani. A cow’s milk cheese, Bel Paese is usually matured for six to eight weeks; the result—a creamy yellow cheese, with a mild, buttery flavour and light, milky aroma. Its easy-to-slice consistency makes it a popular pairing with fruity wines, both dry red and white, and with fruits like apples, pears and figs. As it has good melting capacity, it is often used in casseroles, hot Panini, focaccio or on a pizza. Now also made in the United States, the cheese is often eaten as a snack—with crackers, or even in desserts! An original Bel Paese can be identified by a map of Italy and a picture of Antonio Stoppani on the label of the cheese. The American version has a map of the United States on the label.