This recipe, with Mature Montasio Cheese, is typical of the Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Montasio PDO is a hard cooked cheese, typical of the North East of Italy. It’s produced in the fresh, semi-mature and mature varieties.
Type of Milk: Cow
Production Area: The production area of Montasio PDO is within the entire territory of the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and also in the provinces of Belluno, Treviso and parts of the provinces of Padua and Venice, in the Veneto region.
Appearance and Taste: It has a cylindrical shape with flat sides, with a smooth and elastic rind that darkens in color the longer it is matured. The paste is white, with a few eyes and a firm consistency that, over the months, becomes grainy and crumbly. Fresh Montasio PDO has a smooth and delicate flavor whereas the Semi-Matured cheese has a stronger and particularly full flavor. The maturation phase of this cheese define its varieties: the fresh or mild variety (between 60 and 120 days of ripening) has a soft and delicate flavor; the semi-mature or medium variety (from 4 to 10 months) has a more decisive flavor, with a distinctively striking full taste; the mature variety (over 10 months) has a very strong and aromatic flavor that is pleasantly piquant; the special extra-mature variety (aged for over 18 months) flaunts particularly aromatic flavors.
Origins: The history of Montasio PDO dates back to 1200 when the monks created this cheese in the Alps, in order to store milk. Its first documentary references are dated back to 1773, when the price lists of the San Daniele market established the Montasio PDO price.
Production: Milk is processed using mild techniques that don’t disrupt the original microbial flora and bacteria, using fresh, raw, unheated milk. The previously skimmed milk is placed in vats, which are generally made out of copper, and milk starter culture and calf rennet are added.
After about 20/25 minutes of curdling, the gelatinous mass is cut and the small pieces thus obtained are about the size of a grain of rice. The curd is then re-heated to a temperature of 44-46°C/111-115°F. The cheese is then put into forms called “fascere”, imprinted with the Montasio PDO brand, the date of production, and the producer’s identification code. The forms are then pressed to expel excess whey. They give the cheese its characteristic shape. After about a day, the cheese is immersed in a brine bath for about 48 hours. Then the cheese is salted one last time and transferred to the aging room.
Gastronomy: Montasio PDO is a table cheese also used to savor many dishes and create appetizers and desserts. It should be stored in the least cold part of the fridge, wrapped in cheese cloth. Suggested Wine Pairings: Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio.
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