The technique for making this classic mountain toma cheese is very similar to that used for Bra. It differs in that only ewe’s milk is used, or ewe’s milk mixed with small quantities of cow’s milk. Testun, which in the Piedmontese dialect means a “big, hard head”, had almost completely disappeared from the market, but now its extraordinary taste profile has earned it a reprieve. The milk is coagulated at 37°C with liquid calf’s rennet and the soft curd is cut into hazelnut-sized pieces. It is then left to stand in whey for about an hour, after which it is wrapped up, kneaded and placed in moulds, where it is pressed. After pressing, the rounds are dry-salted on top and bottom alternately with sea salt. They are then placed in cellars or caves to mature for a period ranging from two to twelve months or even longer. Once, very mature Testun was also used for grating. Its outer rind is thin, often scored by the rush mats used for maturing and yellow-brown in colour, while its brownish-white or straw-white body is firm, sometimes marbled when matured for a long period of time. Its top and bottom are flat, sometimes with slight roughness, and 30-36 cm in diameter. The rounds are generally 8 to 10 cm high and their weight ranges between 4 and 8 kg. It is traditionally produced in the province of Cuneo, in an area encompassed by the river Tanaro and the torrential river Vermenagna, exclusively in mountain dairies.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.