Borbera Valley Mollana

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Produced from raw cow’s milk in the Borbera Valley and neighboring valleys near the Piedmont-Liguria, mollana is similar to stracchi, the cheese that was originally used to make the famous ‘foccacia al formaggio di Recco.’ A soft cow’s milk cheese of medium maturation, each form weighs around one kilogram, has a diameter of 20-25 cm and height of 2-3 cm.To make the cheese, the rennet is added at a temperature not greater than 35°C in a tin-plated copper cauldron. After three hours the curd is broken into rice-sized pieces with a skimmer, and then it is left to rest and settle to the bottom. After two hours the curds are removed, wringing them out by hand and placing them into fresciele (molds) made from wood or food-grade plastic. The cheesemaker uses their fists to press down the curds, and then turns the cheeses every three hours, three or four times. The fresciele are then stacked (if they fit together) or pressed down individually with weights, and left until the following morning. The cheeses are then placed on planks of soft wood and covered with special strips of cotton or linen cloth. The forms are left on the planks for three days, and are turned periodically during this period to facilitate the drying. When the rind beings to form, the cheeses are salted on all surfaces. The forms are then stacked and arranged in a container for 24 hours. Following this they are washed and dried and placed back onto the aging planks, where they continue to be turned for at least ten days. At one point, production of mollana almost disappeared, but was revived a few years ago by the Vallenostra dairy in Montebore.

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