“Created up high, it brings with it the flavours of unspoiled nature"

The history of Asiago cheese is interwoven with that of the people from the plateau of the same name, the origins of which date back to around the year 1000. In the sixteenth century, thanks to the improvement in farming techniques and the transition from grazing pastures to carefully cut fields, sheep were ousted by cows. In the nineteenth century, cow’s milk completely replaced sheep’s milk.

Production of fresh Asiago began in around 1920. Because of its sweet taste and soft technique, younger variants came to be known as “Asiago pressato” (pressed Asiago), since the wheels produced were squeezed in manual or hydraulic presses. 

Asiago cheese was first recognised as DOC (Controlled Designation of Origine), which established the area and technology involved in its production… 

...then it went on to receive DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) status from the European Union. 

Asiago DOP is unique among cheeses due to the fact that the same name (Asiago) applies to two completely different types (Fresh and Mature). 

The greatest difference comes from the raw ingredients, and whole milk is used for fresh Asiago DOP… 

...whereas mature Asiago DOP is produced using semi-skimmed milk. 

Asiago allevo (mature) cheese is made by processing milk taken from one or two milkings, and cow’s milk is used exclusively.

Coagulation is achieved by adding coagulant enzymes (rennet) taken from cows.

The curd is semi-cooked (through semicottura)...

... until the mass being processed reaches a temperature of 47°C ± 2°C, which takes a period of about 10 - 12 minutes. The tool historically used to break the cheese is the stirrer or the curd knife.

The curd must be cut 15/30 minutes after the rennet is added, and the resulting pieces should be the size of hazelnuts or smaller. Next, it rests under the whey separated from the curd, and this stage lasts for a variable period of between 15 and 30 minutes, after which the curd is removed...

...and shaped, then placed in the moulds for the final product.

During the pre-salting stage, which is carried out for a minimum period of 48 hours, the wheels of cheese are stored in rooms at 10/15 °C with relative humidity of 80/85%. Next is the salting stage, which can be carried out using two methods: 

...dry salting by sprinkling salt on the surface, or salting in brine (18 - 22°Be).

The minimum maturing time for pressed Asiago DOP...

...is 20 days from the date of production, and it must take place in stores located within the recognised production area with temperatures between 10/15°C and relative humidity between 80/85%.

Asiago DOP cheese is produced in dairies based in and using milk from cattle farmed within the stipulated area, which includes all of the provinces of Vicenza and Trento and several municipalities within the provinces of Padua and Treviso.

Credits: Story

Curator — Consorzio Tutela Formaggio Asiago

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google