The Taste Of Dolce Vita – Asiago cheese

Asiago cheese is a speciality of the region, made from the aromatic milk of the eponymous cows that have grazed freely on the Asiago plateau for thousands of years. The cheese, which is rich in proteins and enzymes but not too fatty, has a great taste and texture and was awarded the DOC in 1978, which means that it can only come from certain regions of Vicenza and Trento or Padua and Trevisio. It probably got its name in the 17th or 18th century. Like Gouda, there are aged and young versions.

In the year following the recognition of excellence, a consortium was set up to protect the brand and monitor all stages of production, with over 100 dairy farms now members. Asiago is available in a wide variety of varieties, all of which are very popular.

D.O.P. and I.G.P.

DOP and PGI products represent the pinnacle of European agri-food production and each product is the result of a combination of human and natural factors specific to a particular area.
That is why the European Union lays down precise rules to safeguard them, by developing an appropriate quality control system, to protect consumer good faith and to provide producers with specific tools to distinguish and promote products with specific characteristics, and to protect against unfair practices. The information and promotion programme developed by the three Italian consortia fits into this context:

The Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium (Il Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano)
Consorzio di Tutela del formaggio Asiago (Consortium for the Protection of Asiago Cheese)
The Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Gorgonzola DOP (Consortium for the Protection of Gorgonzola DOP)

History of asiago cheese

The Asiago plateau, from which the cheese takes its name, has been producing a delicious cheese since the millennium. In the early days, sheep’s milk was used, but from the 1500s, as the number of cattle farms on the plateau gradually increased, and since then only cow’s milk was used as a raw material. Milk processing techniques developed in the early years of the 17th century and production expanded to areas close to the Asiago plateau: the mountainous area, the adjacent plains and the summer pastures of nearby Trento. The most ancient Asiago cheese, the closest to the dairy tradition of the plateau, with the most intense and captivating flavour, is the Matured Asiago. Fresh Asiago was born in the early years of the 20th century from the DOP tradition of the area, combined with the most modern dairy technologies. It is the sweet and soft taste of this cheese that has made it internationally popular.

Where does Asiago cheese come from?

Both Fresh Asiago and Matured Asiago are produced in areas ranging from the irrigated pastures of the Po Valley to the alpine pastures of the Asiago plateau and the province of Trentino.

Asiago cheese location

Physiological effects

Easily digestible, appetising and with the presence of lactic fermenters, which are highly appreciated by nutritionists, Fresh Asiago cheese is often recommended for a healthy and healthy diet.

Matured Asiago is a very special product with a distinctive flavour that sets it apart from all other mature cheeses. It can provide up to 50% of the daily protein requirement, providing protein of extremely high biological value.

Asiago varieties

Fresh Asiago (Asiago Fresco)

Fresh Asiago, also known as pressed Asiago, is made from skimmed milk and matured for at least 20 days.

What does fresh Asiago taste like?

It is white or slightly straw-coloured, with distinctive but irregular holes and a taste reminiscent of freshly milked milk, delicate and tasty, melting in the mouth with an irresistibly sweet, slightly acidic flavour.

When you smell it with your eyes closed, its aroma is reminiscent of dried fruit. Full-bodied yet supple.

How to use fresh Asiago?

Taste it and enjoy the sweet-nutty taste of the cheese melting in your mouth. Goes well with a full-bodied red wine and perfect combination with the typical Italian bread, ciabatta.

Aged Asiago (Asiago Stagionato)

Matured Asiago cheese, also known as Asiago d’Allevo, is made from semi-skimmed milk and is left to mature for 3-15 months.

Depending on the length of maturation, there is Asiago Mezzano (medium Asiago) (4-6 months maturation), Asiago Vecchio (mature Asiago) (10-15 months maturation) and Asiago Stravecchio (very mature Asiago) (maturation exceeding 15 months).

What does aged Asiago taste like?

It has a straw-yellow colour, small to medium-sized holes and a strong, spicy flavour that becomes more pronounced as the cheese matures.

How to use aged Asiago?

There are many uses for this cheese in the kitchen. Paired with a glass of strong red wine, it can be the perfect finishing touch to a hearty feast.

Use the mature version for Italian cooked pasta, polenta, or grated into soups or risotto.

How to store Asiago cheese?

In a tightly closed container in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

Recommended Drinks

Both the fresh and the aged versions go well with fuller-bodied red wines.

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