This is a cow’s milk cheese from high and low mountainous areas. The historical area of production is Val di Susa, including the lower part of the area and the surrounding valleys, but it can also be found in Val Sangone and in the Lanzo Valleys. This cheese has been produced in the area since very ancient times. According to a tale, it would be (unlikely) related to Hannibal’s passage. What is certain is that it has been around in the area for over a century. The cheese is made with the evening milk, placed in the boiler and left to rest overnight. In the morning, the acidified milk is skimmed from the butterfat risen to the surface (thus obtaining a partial skimming). Usually, the full-fat milk from the new milking is now added. The milk is heated to 32°-37° C. ?Today, most producers add minimum rennet quantities to facilitate coagulation.?The obtained curd is very finely broken (to ‘rice grains’) and kept slightly warmer than room temperature. It is then collected with a piece of cloth, strained and pressed a first time to eliminate excess water.?The curd is now worked and salted (salt is usually added to the curd, but dry and brine salting techniques are also used) and then pressed several times in the molds and turned.??Aging usually takes two months-ninety days. During this time, cheeses are kept in fresh and dry cellars. ?Longer aging times (over four months) usually cause the proliferation of spontaneous molds, which create blue cheeses.?The cheeses are cylinder-shaped (diameter: 25 – 35 cm) with a straight side (12-18 cm height). The average weight is between 5 and 12 kg.?The rind is coarse, rough, yellow-reddish or brown-grayish. The curd, with no holes, is solid and hay-yellow colored.?The most characteristic feature is the chalky texture. In some cases, there may be spontaneous molds which significantly influence the aromatic profile.? The strongest flavors are acidic and bitter tastes, with pleasant tangy notes in case of longer aging times or a particularly high fat content. ?This cheese is historically produced in the summer, when cows graze on mountain pastures. This is why the taste has herbaceous notes and a hint of roasted hazelnut.It was often produced for the home consumption of mountain shepherds, or to use the milk at the end of the seasons, when herds in the mountains became smaller.?The local gastronomic culture usually combines the consumption of this cheese with polenta and cured meats.
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