The name, Montasio, is related to the mountains, precisely, the homonymous mountains in the Alpi Giulie.
Montasio has forever been considered a very fine cheese. Today the raw materials used to make the cheese are rigidly controlled by the Produce’s Association for the Protection of Montasio Cheese. It is required and controlled that the cows are perfectly healthy. The breed must be the local red-spotted one, plus a small number of Alpine and Friesian cows are allowed. The technique is clearly defined and standardized so as to prevent deviations from the traditional method of cheese-making.
The milk is delivered to the dairy twice a day, immediately after the milking. Generally the evening milk is partially skimmed during the night, before being mixed with the morning milk the following day. Then nearly all the traditional processes of making cooked cheese follow. Particular attention is devoted to preparing the lactic culture and to adding it to the milk. It is a technique which was devised a century ago and which is essential to maintain the typical characteristics of this cheese. After an adequate thermic treatment and 6-9 hours fermentation, the milk develops a characteristic micro flora. Then follows a number of operations including clotting, breaking of the curd, cooking, etc., and finally salting, first brine bath and then dry-salting.
Maturation takes place in special storerooms with definite conditions of temperature and humidity. For the fresh type of Montasio, it is about 2 months, 4 for the medium ripened, and at least 12 for the fully mature ones. All the cheeses controlled by the producers Association have the trademark impressed on the side of them as well as the date of making, initials of the cheese factory and the province of provenance. The shape is cylindrical, 2-4 inches high, 12-16 inches in diameter. The rind of immature Montasio is smooth springy, light brown in color. The body is firm, white or straw-colored, with typical small eyes. As the cheeses mature, the rind gets drier and the paste granular and flaky. The taste, typically sweet in the fresh type, turns fragrant and slight-ly tangy in the more mature ones.
Recommended Use: Montasio cheese may be used as a grating cheese or an appetizer. Montasio cheese is the traditional Italian cheese used for making frico, or fried cheese. It also makes a flavorful fondue.
Product of Italy
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