mascarpone cheese

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by bcairns, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. bcairns Junior Member

    English, America
    The position of adjectives is driving me nuts. In English we would simply say cheddar cheese, or cotto salami, with the adjective always before the noun. I understand that in most cases the adjective goes after the noun in Italian, but how about such things as a type of cheese? Is it formaggio mascarpone, or what?

    Can you help me with some simple rules for placement of adjectives in Italian, or should I always put them after the noun and hope for the best?

    Bob Cairns

    P.S. Thanks for the help with egg yolks.
  2. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    I'd just say "mascarpone" or "parmigiano" or "mozzarella di bufala" or....

    I don't think you need the word "cheese" at all in that case in Italian.

    If I did use it, I'd put it first "formaggio parmigiano."
  3. Alberto77 Senior Member

    for the mascarpone, well, we usually say simply "il mascarpone"
    for the adjs, well, we usually put it after the noun, but sometimes it can be put before. examples:
    un bravo ragazzo
    un buon vino
    un caro amico
    un verde prato
    i cannot give you a rule right now, at least i should think a bit about it, anyway, in these three cases i can see that the 3 of them are almost
    "common expressions", they are almost a "unique", don't know if you can get this...
    un "verde prato" is something already in your imagination...
    "un buon vino" is a generic good wine, maybe in a little osteria in a small town, u can say "...poi ci beviamo un buon vino" inviting somebody to drink after maybe some work, but you cannot use in the same way "poi ci beviamo un vino buono", because it is clear that nobody wants to drink a bad wine...
    hope not to have rendered evrything more complex...
  4. Alberto77 Senior Member

    for example:
    Gianni è un bravo ragazzo = Gianni is a good guy -> generic expression
    the other person takes it as it is...
    Gianni è un ragazzo bravo ( an you expect the other person to say "bravo a fare cosa?")
  5. micro Senior Member

    Italian Italy
    Another example is:

    ragazzo povero = boy with few money
    povero ragazzo = boy with a serious illness, or maybe something bad has happened to him, etc.
  6. plabrocca Senior Member

    New York State, USA
    English, US
    Just to add a little...
    Sometimes the position of the adjective changes the meaning.

    povero ragazzo = poor boy, we should feel sorry for him (but he could be rich)
    ragazzo povero = poor boy, as in he has no money

    When the adjective follows the meaning tends to be literal, while before it's figurative. I can't remember where I read this.

  7. micro Senior Member

    Italian Italy
  8. bcairns Junior Member

    English, America
    Thanks for helping this beginner with his aggetivi. Thanks also to micro. Someday I may be able to read that link to this topic.
  9. peaceloverecycle New Member

    I have been studying Italian for quite a while now, and the way I learned to use the adjectives was as follows:

    If the adjective expresses beauty, age, number, goodness, or size (they were called BANGS adjectives as a mnemonic to help remember), then it precedes the noun it is describing. If it expresses anything else, it follows.

    Per esempio:
    Gio é un cattivo ragazzo. (This expresses "goodness"; it precedes.)
    Oggi é un bel giorno. (This expresses "beauty"; it precedes.)
    Mia sorella ha diciassette gatti. (This is a number; it precedes.)
    Ho una maglia blu. (This does not express beauty, age, number, goodness, or size; it follows.)

    In bocca al lupo!
  10. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    Hmm... I wouldn't say the rule works properly, if I clearly understand it. In Italian the adjective can be placed after the noun (usually) or before it, often changing the meaning of the sentence:

    (beauty) è una ragazza bella, ma antipatica / Sabrina è una bella ragazza;
    (age) è un'insegnante vecchia, ma molto esperta / è una vecchia insegnante di quella scuola;
    (number) condannato a mesi tre di reclusione (linguaggio giuridico) / condannato a tre mesi con la condizionale;
    (goodness) uno studente cattivo / un cattivo studente;
    (size) un pennello grande / un grande pennello (a well-known commercial).

    Or maybe I misunderstood?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  11. peaceloverecycle New Member

    I'm not sure; that's the way I was taught and it seems to always be correct in usage.
  12. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
    But... have you seen my examples? ;):)
  13. neuromatico

    neuromatico Senior Member

    English (Canadian)
    I'm afraid your teacher oversimplified the placement of adjectives.
    Here are some other "size" examples that disprove his rule :

    Un grand’uomo. A great man (in accomplishments).
    Un uomo grande e grosso. A large man (in size and stature).
  14. stevenvh Senior Member

    le Fiandre, Belgio
    Belgium, Dutch
    I was taught that most of the time the adjective comes after the noun, but certain adjectives can be put before (I don't know how exclusive/exhaustive the BANGS rule is). You can still place these adjectives after the noun to stress a quality.

    Also nationality always comes after the noun:
    lo scrittore italiano :tick:
    l'italiano scrittore :cross:
  15. Quzzy Junior Member

    What about the opposite?
    I mean in Italian we say "mascarpone", for the translation to English should I say "mascarpone cheese"? (+ cheese after the name of type of cheese).
    Or might I just say "mascarpone" also in English?

  16. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I left England before Italian food became so fashionable, so maybe others can help you more, but probably "mascarpone" alone is sufficient, particularly because it doesn't taste very cheesy!
  17. Quzzy Junior Member

    And in general for other types of cheese (for example ricotta or mozzarella), would you add in English "cheese" after their names?
    Thank you Einstein :)
  18. joanvillafane Senior Member

    U.S., New Jersey
    U.S. English
    Hi Quzzy - in the U.S., the well-known cheeses are known by their names so we don't have to say cheese for
    ricotta, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, etc. Of course, I guess it's hard to know which ones are "well-known" here! ;)
  19. Quzzy Junior Member

    Thanks Joanvillafane! Yes you're right! It's hard to know from here in Italy wich ones are well-known there.
    For example I imagine that Taleggio, Philapelphia or Scamorza are not well-known as ricotta, mozzarella. Am I right? :)
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  20. joanvillafane Senior Member

    U.S., New Jersey
    U.S. English
    Well, one person's opinion may not be too helpful, but I do know Taleggio and Scamorza. The other one sounds like Philadelphia - is that an Italian cheese?
  21. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I'm just wondering...

    In English you can say simply "Cheddar", "Wensleydale" or "Caerphilly", but if you add the word "cheese" it doesn't sound strange. On the other hand I don't think I've ever heard Italians say "formaggio mozzarella" or "formaggio taleggio". What do the natives think?
  22. Quzzy Junior Member


    In Italian we never add the word "formaggio" before/after the name of the cheese.
  23. Pat (√2) Senior Member

    No, it's Ph***y cream cheese :)
  24. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    In case anyone's wondering, Caerphilly is a town in Wales and its cheese has nothing to do with "Philly"!
  25. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    In AE, if it's a commonly known cheese, you'd never have to add the word cheese.
    Even to the point that we have boring cheeses that are often used on sandwiches and we just call them "white" and "yellow".

    What kind of cheese do you want on your sandwich?

    But it's also contextual.
    You walk into any US cheese store, and never have to use the word.:)
  26. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
  27. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    I'm still laughing!!!:thumbsup::D
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  28. london calling Senior Member

    They sell mascarpone in Sainsbury's.:) I found that out at Xmas when in London.:) They call it "Italian Mascarpone".......;) Does that maybe suggest that it's now made elsewhere as well?:eek: Fake mascarpone?:D

    PS. My dad will still say mouse-trap if you ask him what kind of cheese her prefers!:D
  29. curiosone

    curiosone Senior Member

    Romagna, Italy
    AE - hillbilly ;)
    "Philadelphia" is a well-known brand name of cream cheese (I've also seen it called "quark" - but I think that's a German term, also used in Italy on lists of ingredients - as that's where I learned it). It's originally an American cheese (NOT an Italian cheese).

    Here's some history I found, about it:

    Returning to the question about whether "cheese" should always be put after the name of a kind of cheese, I'd like to add that this is a correct form, tho' not always necessary. So I can (correctly) say "parmesan cheese" or "ricotta cheese" or "mozzarella cheese," or simply say (in an abbreviated form) "parmesan" or "ricotta" or "mozzarella," as it is understood we are referring to cheeses. I can also say "cheddar" or "cheddar cheese." Some cheeses (like "blue cheese" or "cream cheese") have "cheese" as part of their names. But it is normal to put "cheese" after the description of the kind of cheese.

    p.s.: regarding "Philadelphia" I know Italians often call "cream cheese" by this brand name. But the correct name in English remains "cream cheese," as there are many different brands (often store brands, such as "Conad" or "Coop" brand products found in those Italian groceries).
    Interestingly enough, in the "cream cheese" section of an American grocery, you can also find "neufchatel cheese" (or "neufchatel-style" cheese). I knew it to be a "lower fat" kind of cream cheese - and didn't realize (until today, when I looked up the history), that "cream cheese" was an American imitation of the original "neufchatel" cheese.

    p.p.s.: I just noticed your question about "mascarpone," LC. I learned the hard way (from French friends) to specify "Italian mascarpone," because one time my friends were visiting, and I told them I had made a dessert with mascarpone. They looked horrified, though politely said nothing until AFTER tasting it. Then I learned that "mascarpone" in France refers to a blue cheese - so they were obviously perplexed that I'd make a dessert with it.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  30. italtrav

    italtrav Senior Member

    Often in AE the term "cheese" is added to any cheese-like food, as we lack the category "latticini." So, parmesan cheese, which is a cheese, but also mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese. However, given the increased prevalence of genuine Italian food in the USA over the past couple of decades, the tendency these days is more to simply say Parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, or Mascarpone, but it will depend on the audience.
  31. curiosone

    curiosone Senior Member

    Romagna, Italy
    AE - hillbilly ;)
    I beg to differ. "Latticini" translates to "dairy products" in English. And who says mozzarella and ricotta aren't cheeses? They're fresh cheeses, whereas parmesan is an aged cheese.
  32. Connie Eyeland

    Connie Eyeland Senior Member

    Brescia (Italia)
    Ciao, Curiosone.:)
    Confermo che il "quark" è un formaggio fresco centro-europeo, soprattutto tedesco. Non è la stessa cosa del "cream cheese" (in Italia Philadelphia), ma in tutti i Paesi dove non si trova il quark, nelle ricette che lo prevedono lo si sostituisce con il cream cheese/Philadephia. Vedi qui.

    Riguardo al nome "Philadelphia", benché il formaggio sia stato inventato a New York, come tu hai riportato, gli è stato dato questo nome perché al tempo pare che i prodotti di migliore qualità venissero da Philadelphia: The name "Philadelphia Brand cream cheese" was adopted for the product because at that time, top-quality food products often originated in or were associated with the city, and were often referred to as being "Philadelphia quality." (rif. qui).
    Esatto per la mozzarella!:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  33. aefrizzo

    aefrizzo Senior Member

    Palermo, Italia
    La ricotta un formaggio? Boh? :)
    Per tradizione si otteneva dal siero, NON dal latte. Cioè da quel che resta del latte, dopo aver tolto la cagliata che diverrà formaggio. Come cambiano i tempi:D, ma la mangio sempre con piacere.
  34. london calling Senior Member

    In effetti, se vogliamo mettere i puntini sulle "i", la ricotta in inglese viene definito un "whey (siero) cheese".:)
  35. aefrizzo

    aefrizzo Senior Member

    Palermo, Italia
    Grazie, LC. E' una vita che cerco di spiegarlo, senza riuscirci, agli amici inglesi quando divorano cannoli e cassate. Adesso conosco la parola giusta.
  36. Connie Eyeland

    Connie Eyeland Senior Member

    Brescia (Italia)
    Ciao, Aefrizzo.:)
    Tranquillo: non sono cambiati i tempi da questo punto di vista.:D
    La ricotta nelle diete e nelle tabelle nutrizionali è molto spesso annoverata tra i formaggi magri, ma tecnicamente non è un "formaggio", come hai ben precisato, perché prodotta come hai descritto (= da siero anziché da latte cagliato come i formaggi). Grazie per averlo ricordato! Correggo il mio post #32.

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