This post is also available in: Italiano
In a lovely place of the Venetian upland of the same name, at almost 1000 meter of hight , among Vicenza and Trento’s provinces. Here where the air is healthy and the raw materials are genuine, arises the typical formaggio italiano, Italian cheese, with a unique taste, Asiago Dop. It arises from the perseverance, with the respect of a millennial tradition, from cow milk of the mountain cottage and of the hill. A soft cheese, among the most famous and the most appreciated cheeses, even outside the national buondaries. Versatile and rich of flavour, good both fresh and aged, today IEX suggests to bring on the table Asiago of Italy.
Asiago Dop: history and procedural guideline
Asiago cheese‘s history is intrinsically linked to the Venetian land: here, around the year 1000, in the same present-day aerea, a great sheep’s cheese was produced. The wide spread of cattle farming pushed the local population , five centuries later, to wrap also tasty cow cheese. The current Asiago, the one that arrives on our tables, is made only with bovine milk, but the reference to past times is present in the caption “pegorin”, related to the aged Asiago.
Asiago cheese is exported in all the world, fresh and tasty, sees the light around the ‘20s, to satisfy consumers’ needs that started to appreciate soft cheeses from France. Asiago has different cicles of aging: fresh to the production, acquires flavours more and more intense and complex as the time goes by.
In honour of Asiago cheese each year several festivals are organised on the upland of the same name: you can’t miss in September, the event “made in malga” with stands where you can taste the local culinary delicacies of the different producers.
From 1996, Asiago cheese is Dop label and its production follows a precise procedural guideline. It is produced in the area of Vicenza, Padova and Treviso’s provinces, but also in Trentino (only in Trento’s province). The bovines bred for the production of this Italian product can live only in theese areas. Already before, from 1979, to pay attention to the accuracy of the manifacturing processes and to the production chain of more than 1600 companies, there was a Consortium for the protection of Asiago cheese. In 2005, moreover, a new procedural guideline has introduced new rules for the production of Asiago cheese, suggesting also the nutrition allowed to the cattle, the manifacturing processes, the conservation modality and the features of the finished product.
Kinds of Asiago cheese: fresh or aged?
For the kinds of Asiago on the market, we recognize mainly two:
- Fresh and pressed Asiago: it is made with whole milk processed with a semi-raw texture, the name “pressed Asiago” refers to the pressing procedure, 4 hours long, that defines the end of the productive process. After the drying phase begins the maturation, that lasts between 20 and 40 days.
- Aged or ripened Asiago: processed with a semi-raw texture, it is lowered in the mould during the final phases, then it is salted and placed to ripening. For an aging that goes from 3 months to 8 months, Ripened Asiago is called “Mezzano”; until 18 months is called “Vecchio”; over is called “Stravecchio”.
From the external aspect of Asiago cheese many things can be realized. A good fresh product shows,when cut, the peculiar bubbles and holes, and it has to be kept in the fridge, at not so high temperatures, but under 8° degrees. Ripened Asiago can be kept in a cloth or in fridge or in an humid place, such as a cellar.
In the fresh and pressed variation Asiago is straw light in colour, it has soft texture and irregular holes. The aroma looks like the butter, the flavour is sweet and delicate, not excessively salted. The ripened Asiago, instead, is of a darker colour, almost amber. The aroma is strong and sharp : you can smell fresh fruit. The texture of this cheese is more solid depending on the aging. The taste is intense, and in the very aged forms, the taste is spicy.
Asiago cheese: recipes and combinations
Let’s talk about Asiago cheese calories: 100 grams of fresh cheese provide 389 Kcal 32,4 g of fats, 0,,5 of carbohydrates, 23 g of proteins and percentage of calcium. An aged Asiago will have values a little higher for whan concerns fats and proteins, while the percentage of calcio increases considerably. Asiago: low-fat or fat cheese? The fresh product is reccomended also in the diets, appearing as low-fat cheese Asiago.
Asiago is a very versatile product, good both alone and combined with bread or toast. In the cooking you can use it in many ways, and it becomes the prince of different regional courses. Perfect in small cubes in the salads, but also molten on the polenta with the porcino mushrooms, or to flavour the sliced vegetables. In Veneto Asiago is used to mix risotto with radicchio of Treviso, or for the “sopa coada”, a typical soup with pigeon meat. Ideal also as filling of quiches. Aged cheese is grated on the first courses, also on the “pasta al forno”, to create a delicious pasta with Asiago. To taste it natural, the advice is to combinie it with dandelion honey, mustard or dog rose jam, or as tradition, matching it with a sliver of pear.
Where there is cheese, there is also wine . And then, it’s necessary to choose light and pleasant, white or red, wines, but also dry sparkling wine as Valpolicella Classico, Biferno Rosato and Franciacorta brut sparkling wine. For a medium ripening Asiago we will choose a Solopaca or a Cabernet Colli Berici, while for the long aging one are better the red Venetian DOC wines, such as Pinot Nero Riserva DOC, Merlot DOC from Trentino or Bardolino Superiore.
A long dairy Italian tradition, based on goodness, delicacy and authenticity. A product of the mountain, that brings from there all the intense flavours, carrying, on every slice, printed and marked with fire, the unique writing “Asiago”.
This post is also available in: Italiano