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4 things you want to know about Montasio cheese.

Montasio Pdo is a cooked curd, semi-hard mature cheese, with regular small eyes overall, this is well known, and nonetheless, some peculiarities of this Italian food excellence remain mostly untold.

First, the Montasio cheese is named after the plateau of the same name located in the Friulian Mountains. Therefore, it is widely believed that the production area includes the Friuli Venezia Giulia region only. On the contrary, it stretches to the provinces of Treviso and Belluno and, in part, in those of Venice and Padua.

Moreover, it is often thought that all the products deriving from milk contain lactose, but this is inaccurate. In fact, in the production of some aged cheese, batteria are added to milk, which eliminate lactose and transform it into lactic acid. This happens even for cheese aged for at least two months. This is naturally lactose-free; therefore, it suits to those who are intolerant to this milk sugar. In detail, laboratory tests show that Montasio contains values of lactose lower to 0.01 g for 100 g of cheese: more than 10 time less of the limit values set out by national and European legislation.

Few knows that Montasio cheese, like milk and yogurt, contains tryptophan, an amino acid precursor of serotonin. This neurotransmitter, together with melatonin carries out a relaxing action contributing to regulate the natural sleep pattern. Even calcium contained in Montasio helps to sooth the nervous system and reduce stress.

Finally yet importantly, it is important to dispel the myth that cheese makes people fat. As a matter of fact, according to a study of the University College of Dublin, based on a sample of 1500 people aged between 18 and 90 years, consumers of cheese and dairy products have a lower body max index and cholesterol levels with respect to those who don’t assume cheese or prefer low-fat dairy products. For the peace of mind of Montasio lovers: following proper eating habits as for caloric intake as indicated in the nutrition facts table you can find at this link: http://www.montasio.com/nutrition education/.

5 unique places to eat Montasio cheese: the ranking.

Precious moments stolen from the everyday routine to have a break and relax mind and soul enjoying a small piece of Montasio Pdo. An excellence of Italy worth tasting in a unique scenery. Here follows the ranking of the weirdest “Montasio Moments”, to try at least once in life.

 

  • In a tree house. In the pristine woods around Ugovizza, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, appears a small tree house. Nothing exotic, but this house is pin-cone shaped and placed at an altitude of 10 m., at the same level of pine tree tops. An overnight in a magical place is to be celebrated with a Prosecco-based aperitif and cubes of Fresh Montasio.

 

  • Before practising bungee. It was born on the Pentecost Island (Pacific) as rite of passage for young men. The jump that originally took place from wooden towers, with men equipped with lianas at the ankles, and became a sport in 1993 only. From that date on, younger and older people challenge their fear of emptiness jumping from well-equipped installations with fit-for-purpose elastic supports. What would you eat best before jumping from an altitude of more than 100 meters? A chunk of Ripened Montasio, so rich in healthy nutrients like calcium and vitamins (further information at the following page: http://www.montasio.com/nutrition education/).

 

  • On a hot air balloon. “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return”. Said Leonardo Da Vinci. This is what they usually say when they try a hot air balloon flight, too. Since the balloon bends with the wind, it could happen to jolt during the trip. It is better to bring a snack you can keep in one hand so to have one free to hold at the handle of the balloon’s basket. A tasty tramezzino sandwich with cooked ham and Semi-aged Montasio.

 

  • After swimming with dolphins. In a marine park in Malta, accompanied by a professional dolphin trainer you can live the experience of diving in a pool together with these extraordinary sensible and intelligent mammals. Once out, and before meeting sea lions you have time enough to taste a hamburger with radicchio and Montasio, which is easy to digest and recharge energies without weighing down.

 

  • During a “bonfire night”. Why not to profit of a clear-sky night to try the typical American custom of gathering around a bonfire with friends? Instead of roasting marshmallows as cousins overseas do, you could dip toasted bread in a delicious Montasio fondue.

 

“Pairings with Montasio Pdo: suggestions of the chef Cesare Gasparri”

Cesare Gasparri (https://scuola.lacucinaitaliana.it/i-nostri-chef/cesare-gasparri) comes from Pesaro and after several experiences in the field of catering services, among others those in collaboration with prominent figures such as Gualtiero Marchesi and Luciano Tona, he moved to Milan to work for “La Cucina italiana” (The Italian Kitchen), where culinary tradition meets innovation and creativity. Today, the chef proposes many delicious ideas with Montasio and gourmet combinations worth a try. Let us find out together.

 

Montasio Pdo cheese expresses its peculiar features at best when combined with fruits, exotic ones as well. The important is to regulate and measure the two ingredients. As for preparations, the mango chutney pairs well with a ripened Montasio with its intense flavor and perfume. Even coconut tastes good in combination with a mature Montasio paying particular attention to balancing the overall sweetness of the course. For example, a crepe with fresh coconut, bitter cocoa and grated fresh Montasio. Another refined pairing is the following: fried cubes of fresh Montasio with a red fruit sauce, whose sourness helps to “clean” mouth between one mouthful and the next, for a pleasant tasting experience. Dried fruit, together with spices, for preparing choreographic lollipops (wafers) of Montasio for the delight of the most demanding dinner companions.

 

For a Montasio-based healthy and tasty second course, you can pair it with vegetables, adding vitamins and minerals to proteins and calcium of the cheese (for more details: http://www.montasio.com/nutrition-education/). For example, a salad of mixed turnips, prepared with raw celeriac, boiled beetroot and raw or roasted white turnips in combination with a Montasio sauce, or an oven-backed savoy cabbage with Montasio. In the choice of fruits of the garden, it is better considering seasonality, this way you will get the best from each product in terms of nutrients. In autumn, you can prepare delicious pumpkin tortelli filled with Montasio as first course, or a second course of fried cubes of Montasio and pumpkin. Even mushrooms pair very well with cheese. A lasagna with mushrooms and a Montasio fondue (with an extra-light béchamel for a fluffy lasagna) or a grill roasted porcino mushroom’s top sprinkled with grated Montasio and then cooked au gratin: simply mouthwatering.

 

Another mix you cannot miss is Montasio and fish. Mullet in particular, this is a ground fish with an intense flavor: very tasty combined with thin strips of Montasio mezzano and cooked in oven or steamed. Another proposal: roasted salmon paired with a Montasio sauce, a delicate and savory dish.

 

You just need a pinch of originality to prepare good, beautiful and healthy dishes with Montasio. Shortly the chef, Cesare Gasparri, will lead us to the discovery of delicious gourmet recipes. Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date: https://business.facebook.com/MontasioCheese/.

Montasio PDO cheese “Product of the Mountain” (PDM) and “Italian Red Pied Only” (PRI, Pezzata Rossa Italiana): “back to future” in the dairy tradition.

Product and process innovations may contribute to reinforce the relationship between an Italian excellence like Montasio PDO, territory and traditions.

 

In the past, the focus of dairy production was the selection of cattle breeds with a high productive specialization and industrialization of transformation processes. Today, the product’s origin and protection of the environment and animals’ health are a priority. In fact, even customers are more and more interested on these themes.

 

In this context, the experimentation supported by the Research and Technological Innovation Center for Agriculture of the University of Udine in collaboration with the Livestock Owner’s Association of Friuli Venezia Giulia moves forward for the sake of the production of Montasio Pdo cheese with the labels “Product of the Mountain” and “Italian Red Pied Only”.

 

In order to obtain the Montasio Pdo label, the cheese shall be produced in the area indicated by the Consortium for the Promotion of the product:  http://www.montasio.com/montasio-cheese/#production-area. Moreover, only the cheese produced with raw milk collected, processed and matured (for at least 60 days) at over 600 meters of altitude may be classified as “Product of the Mountain”. The further indication “Italian Red Pied Only” refers to the milk, which shall derive from animals that are inscribed in the herd book of this breed, recognized as “breed of national utility” in the 50s already. Where does the Red Pied come and when did it first appear? This specific cow takes origin from an experiment for the genetic improvement of the old Friulian breed through subsequent crossbreeds with the Fribourg breed first and Simmenthal at a later stage. In the early Sixties, this breed became very popular all around Italy and in 1986, the Friulian Red Pied turned into the Italian Red Pied.

 

Organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of cheese are deeply influenced by feeding of cows, which during summer graze free. The production of Montasio Pdo in the Alpine areas has a positive impact on the environment, since it contributes to the protection of agrobiodiversity and conservation of grasslands and pasture areas, as well as to the employment of inhabitants.

 

Montasio PDO-PDM-PRI is available at the Malga Montasio already, easily accessible by car from Sella Nevea (Municipality of Chiusaforte), and at the farm shops of the Dairy of Ugovizza.