Zincarlin is produced in the mountains on both sides of the Italian-Swiss border near Lake Como: its tradition is linked to the mountain area between Lake Como and Lake Lugano and between Lombardy in Italy and Canton Ticino in Switzerland. On the Italian side the cheese remains little more than a faded memory in the provinces of Como and Varese, but even if the name of the cheese is the same, the production technique is different from the one used in the Swiss Muggio Valley.
The Zincarlin Presidium is a raw milk cheese produced on the Swiss side of the Generoso Mountains, in Canton Ticino. Its shape resembles an upturned cup and it weighs between 200 and 400 grams when fresh, depending on the quantity of paste available.
Zincarlin is usually made from cow’s milk, but sometimes, small quantities of goat’s milk are also added. The milk used is, of course, raw. One of its distinctive features is that the curds are never broken: the curd obtained by lactic and rennet coagulation, is left to drain for a day and a night and in some cases, cheesemakers assist in draining the whey by making a cross-shaped cut in the curd twelve hours after the rennet has been added to fresh milk. Then the curd is left to drain through a cloth, up until it reaches the right firmness. The draining time depends on the weather, and if the paste doesn’t reach the right consistency, it might be pressed for some hours.
After draining is complete, the mass is energetically kneaded with pepper and salt and then molded into shape by hand.
Zincarlin is eaten after two months of aging or more. Maturing is carried out in cool semi-underground cellars with a specific microclimate derived from the Generoso Mountains. To avoid the developments of undesired moulds, the crust is treated with white wine and salt almost everyday. Zincarlin is transformed during its aging process: the crust becomes reddish-gray, the cheese becomes soft and fatty and its taste and aroma become especially complex and persistent.
This is the first step of a long process: production is still scarce, and it is necessary to involve other cheesemakers and to improve aging techniques, and promote traditional Zincarlin dala Vall da Mücc.
Muggio Valley, Ticino Canton
Presidium supported by
Association of the Municipalities of Valle di Muggio, Val Mara and Salorino Region, Coop Switzerland
tel. +41 916841618
Roncapiano, Monte Generoso
tel. +41 916841370 - +41 916499067
Giuliano e Fiorenza Livi
tel. +41 916841536
Affineurs and retailers
6835 Morbio Superiore
tel. +41 797313105