Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Like the cheese on the macaroni

Yet another Italian saying revolving around Italy’s favorite pastime – eating. It’s pretty similar to the English expression ‘the icing on the cake’ and expresses delight at the little extra something that creates the perfect finishing touch.
The phrase can also be used to show the perfect combination of elements coming together, both good or bad. “I was already having a bad day, but the cheese on the macaroni came when it started raining and I remembered I left my umbrella at home.” Or more happily, “This was the best birthday I’ve ever had, but the icing on the cake came when my football team won the cup for the first time in 20 years!”
The expression works so well because the addition of rich, creamy cheese to soft, tender macaroni takes an already appealing dish and takes it up to the next level of enjoyment.