Ark of taste
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Murtrit (sometimes called mörtrett) is a by-product of raw milk butter production: balls of ricotta cheese are produced using the whey left after butter is made. The ricotta is salted and mixed with wild cumin, chili, pepper, thyme or other herbs according to the region and availability. Following this, murtrit is dried on a fireplace mantel, where the burning wood adds a smoky aroma. The maturation period depends on the weather, but on average it takes three weeks to a month for the cheese to reach the right level of dryness. The round forms are small, weighing from 200-400 grams each. The rind is rough and the body is hard and flaky and displays the crushed spices. The pronounced flavor can be quite spicy due to the presence of pepper and chili. Murtrit is used grated over pasta or on boiled vegetables. Because woodburning fireplaces are much less commonly used, this smoking method has become more rare. Production of the ricotta uses difficult techniques following the production of butter: the ricotta balls must be made quickly by hand, smoked, aged etc. At this time, there are only two or three producers remaining. The cattle breed traditonal to the area, the red Oropa breed, is also at risk of extinction.

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Production area:Biella, High Canavese and low Aosta Valley areas

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Milk and milk products

Nominated by:Giuseppe Pidello