Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

More than the story of a cheese, this could be and perhaps should be, the story of a person. The reason is simple: Gioda is a cheese that was literally ‘invented’ in the first half of the last century (in 1928 to be precise) by Professor Alessandro Gioda (1878-1948) from Padua. Gioda was the director of the Cattedra Ambulante (an agricultural education institute) before becoming director of the Comizio Agrario di Mondovì (Mondovì agricultural association). A charismatic individual, he was considered almost a prophet by farmers at the time, who benefited greatly from this suggestions. It was his desire to contribute to solving the problems of the rural population, that inspired the agronomist to study a dairy production technique capable of utilizing the scare winter milkings to produce a cheese that would be suitable for both the market and home consumption. Thus, Gioda’s ‘recipe’ was born. The professor’s intuitition was to introduce semi-cooked methods to the Toma cheese style, making it similar to fontina. Whole cow’s milk is heated to 30 °C in the summer and 32 °C in the winter, and then liquid rennet is added to bring-on coagulation within 45 minutes. The curd is then broken up with a lira, a lyre-shaped paddle, into uniform pieces the size of walnuts. The curd then undergoes a very slow semi-cooking process (up to 35 °C in the summer and 38 °C in the winter) to allow the whey to be purged. After a 20-minute rest, the curd is removed and left to drain for another 15-20 minutes in clothes. To remove all of the whey, the paste is lightly pressed manually as it is put into the molds. The forms are then pressed with 50-kg weights for 12 hours. The cheese is lightly dry-salted manually to rub the sides and faces of the form. The aging period lasts from 20 days to two months, and the cheeses are turned at least once a day. The forms, which are embossed with the name ‘Gioda’, weight a two kilograms on average and have a diameter of around 20cm and height of 7 cm .The rind is quite soft, slightly thick and rough and varies from light yellow to a grainy grey color according to the aging period and mold. The rind is soft, elastic and rough to the touch because the curd is wrapped in cloth. The paste is elastic and yellow or milky in color, with tiny irregular holes. The medium-intensity aroma is very pleasant and not pungent, and recalls the milk’s qualities. The same aroma is recalled in the mouth, and the cheese is yielding to the bite but is pleasingly robust rather than soft. The flavor is sharp and fragrant, with an unexpectedly complex aroma of milk mixed with other scents.In addition to milk and cream, the aftertaste recalls hazelnuts.? Gioda’s ‘formula’ was widely adapted by farmers at the time and the production of his cheese survived until, due to changing socio-economic conditions, it became impractical and inconvenient, and risked being lost entirely.It is a local cheesemaking tradition that relies on manual labor and attention to details. It therefore requires production timeframes outside the industrial system, and artisan skills that must be passed on

Back to the archive >




Production area:High Tanaro Valley and Mondovì area

Other info


Milk and milk products

Nominated by:Roberto Tavellin