“The tuma that had even tempted the devil”

Historical Background

Murazzano DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) is the oldest and most delectable of the robiola cheeses from Piedmont, and is made using methods and tools that follow a now-established tradition. 

The origins of the Tuma cheese from Langhe Cuneesi date back to antiquity and are interwoven with the roots of the history of the Municipality of Murazzano, which has always been the main centre for the production and sale of the renowned cheese of the same name. 

Its history can be traced back as far as the Celts: the term “rubeola” actually used to indicate the typical reddish colour taken on by the crust of the cheese when matured for prolonged periods.

The link between the product and the area was made indissoluble in 1982, when, to identify the future DOP cheese, it seemed absolutely natural to call it “Murazzano”, thereby celebrating its close relationship with the local dairy tradition.

With the passage of time, this cheese made from sheep’s milk increasingly assumed the typical characteristics and identifying marks that led it to obtain DOP status in 1996. 

Even today, Murazzano DOP is still made by hand, wheel after wheel, and is matured in around fifty municipalities in Alta Langa cuneense, until it achieves its characteristic fine and delicately fragranced flavour.

The Product

Murazzano DOP is a full-fat fresh cheese produced throughout the year. 

It has no crust, and when fresh it is milky white in colour and when mature it is the colour of straw. It has a cylindrical shape, its flat surfaces have a diameter of 10/15 cm, and it weighs between 250 and 400 grams.

The cheese, which is milky white and has a soft consistency, is finely grained. Occasionally it also has small holes. 

The light and fragrant flavour is reminiscent of milk. Murazzano must be packaged with a label containing its designation, the logo of the product and the EU logo. 

If it has been made entirely with sheep’s milk and no cow’s milk has been added, the label or package may state “sheep’s milk”.

The Local Area

Murazzano DOP can be produced, refined and packaged in the municipalities of Alta Langa indicated in the product specifications that belong to the administrative territory of the Province of Cuneo. 

Over time, the producers felt the need to protect the specialised production of Murzzano cheese. In 1984 they decided to form the “Consortium for the Protection of Murazzano Cheese”, which defined the product specification to which the members must adhere in order to guarantee the authenticity and quality of the product.

They also decided to assign INOQ (Istituto Nord Ovest Qualità – the North West Quality Institute) the task of certifying absolute adherence to the parameters of the specifications, to ensure the compliance of the production processes and maintenance of the high standards of quality.

The Consortium’s activities are of fundamental importance, as they are aimed at protecting the product in order to safeguard the consumer, as well as at raising awareness of Murazzano DOP cheese in the region.

Trivia

The origins of the brand Murazzano DOP are shrouded in legend. It is said that once, in the town of Murazzano, there lived a young shepherd with his family. Giuanin was his name, and his job was to check on the homemade tuma while his parents took the sheep to pasture. 

One day a crow managed to enter the dairy and escaped with wheel of cheese gripped in its beak. Giuanin chased him over the hills and valleys, until he reached the Castle of Ceva, a notorious haven for demons and witches. He entered one of the many caves that opened up at the foot of the ruined walls, and there he found a table laden with every kind of delicacy.

As the young man was tired and hungry, he didn’t hesitate to help himself. Suddenly, the Devil appeared out of nowhere and immediately accused the young shepherd of having eaten his lunch, claiming his soul as payment.

Before following the Devil to hell, Giuanin asked to drink one last time. Satan consented, but once they drew near to the well, Giuanin craftily cast him into the deep waters. 

The evil demon was terrified of the water and implored the young man for help, promising that in exchange he would not only save his soul but restore the tuma stolen by the perfidious crow. The story ended well for everyone, except for the wheel of tuma, which was missing a slice when it was returned: not even the Devil could resist the temptation to taste a slice of the tender, inviting cheese. 

So it was that, when choosing the brand for the cheese, someone remembered the legend of Giuanin from Murazzano and the tuma that had even tempted the devil. It was a natural choice.

Credits: Story

Curator — Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Murazzano

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.
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