Hansel and Gretel and the cheese house in the woods: the fable of nutritional health.

When Hansel and Gretel – the two little brothers from the Grimm’s brother’s fairy tale – get lost in the woods, they are desperate. The stepmother doesn’t want them with her and they have been abandoned by their dad because he was too poor to take care of his family.

Despite the fear, however, the little ones follow the path and, at a certain point, starved and very tired, they reach a small house in the middle of a clearing. They approach to ask for something to eat and that’s when they realize that the little house – and we are talking about the whole house! – is made of soft cheese.

The mailbox, the handle, the door, the windows, the steps in front of the entrance, the jars with flowers placed on the windowsills… everything is to be eaten, everything is delicious! “Wait Hansel, there’s something wrong here.” Gretel says as her brother devours the door jamb. “Shouldn’t this little house be made of marzipan?”

«Come on, why does it matter? The important thing is that it is good to eat and trust me, it is great! This cheese tastes of milk, grassy pastures and good things … ”

“But that’s not right! The story is clear: we didn’t go all this way to be eating cheese. Gretel begins to call loudly. “Someone should be livinging here. I’d like explanations. ”

And all of a sudden, an old woman with a basket of bread in her hand appears from the half-eaten door. “Uuuh… beautiful children, and how hungry they are!” she says, “Come to the house, there is also a salad and …” “No, just a moment.” Gretel stops her brother who is running inside, “this house, by contract, should be made of marzipan and you should be ugly and dangerous: why are you so smiling and pretty?” And the old lady laughs. “You don’t know how boring it is to be bad and ugly, my dear. Sometimes in life you have to change your habits. Marzipan may be tasty but it’s not good for you! Sugar clogs arteries and causes the decay of teeth. This cheese, on the other hand, is healthy and nutritious. It gives real energy, strengthens the bones, protects the teeth, helps the brain to stay awake and does not burden digestion. I have lately become health conscious; I no longer eat marzipan and both children and liver and heart and teeth thank me for that. It completely changed my life: I even go running every morning and I feel great! Furthermore, I often have guests here at Casina del Montasio Dop and I am no longer lonely. So: are you staying for lunch? ” “But … our dad is poor and if we can’t steal your treasure, we won’t be able to go home …” ” This means that I will hire him” says the old lady “so we will produce lots of good cheese for everyone!”


Author: Emanuela Valentini

Fairy tales. Even good neighbors love cheese: the secret of Agana.

In shepherd’s cottage on the Giulie and Carniche Alps, on the night in front of the fire, the stories of the woods and the creatures that inhabit them are told. Among all, Aganas stand out, very ugly wicked witches with twisted fingers and sharp noses, always ready to play tricks on the wanderer on duty, on those who are making wood or simply on those who are on the mountain meadows to play or have a picnic. It is said that once upon a time, Aganas were lovely and kind to people, to those people that they did not make them lose along the paths or slip into the stones: this is because they always had with them – tied to the belt – a bag full of cubes of the best cheese of the mountain: Montasio, which kept them always young, beautiful, happy and therefore kind. Then, someone stole their bags and without that delicious nourishment, Aganas began to age, their bones ached, and their mood deteriorated beyond repair.

The old people of the mountain, however, know the tricks to avoid falling into the traps of magical creatures: that’s why we decided to reveal the one to curry favor with Aganas, very simple and easy to make.

When you go to the mountains, never forget to take some diced Montasio with you in a bowl. And if you meet a grumpy old woman who tries to direct you to the stone pit, offer her the cheese. In fact, a small dice is enough to transform the witch into a sweet fairy who will offer to show you the most evocative corners of our Alps, that will turn you into a friend of the wild animals that hide in the woods and play with the great butterflies of the mountain and you will live an unforgettable trip.

Because you know, to feel good, to feel fit and to be in a good mood, it is necessary to eat in the best way; healthy food is the basis of our well-being and also the one of these magical creatures. This is why including Montasio in the diet of the whole family is the wisest choice; Montasio is a nutritious and good cheese that is good for everyone. And by all I mean everyone: those with lactose intolerance can enjoy it without fear, because Montasio at 60 days of aging is naturally lactose-free, transformed into lactic acid by some friendly bacteria that are added to the milk in the initial stages of production. Bring it to your picnics: Aganas will thank you!

Five curiosities about cheese

How good is cheese? A lot.

How many enigmas surround such an ancient delicacy? An infinite number of possibilities.

That’s why the Montasio Dop editorial team read them all – or nearly all- and gathered and picked for you the prettiest, most exclusive, and most amusing ones that will help us learn more about the cheese we eat.

  1. Did you know, for example, that the method of making cheese dates back to the Middle Ages? Did you know that the method of producing cheese dates back to 7,000 BC? In reality, the first sheep and goat farms in Asia were discovered around that time. Even the Romans and Etruscans were cheese producers and consumers, but it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the techniques were established and refined in monasteries, and it wasn’t until later that the cheeses were available on the market.
  2. And did you know that the classic rounded shape of the types comes from the fact that the first cheeses were manufactured inside the wheels to make them easier to transport when engines weren’t yet invented? They had them rolled!
  3. We’re sure this news will astound you as well: The World Cheese Award is held every year in Birmingham, England! You read that correctly: a competition for cheeses, with 300 professional tasters deciding the winner, the best of all!
  4. The most popular cheeses in the Middle Ages were Marzolino and Parmigiano-Reggiano, also known as “maggengo” because it was made in May. Even, it’s brief. Montasio, Grana, and buffalo mozzarella were born shortly after in the Abbeys of Moggio Udinese, Chiaravalle, and San Lorenzo di Capua: true gems of the wonderful Mediterranean diet.
  5. Is it true that the cheese forms have holes? If so, what exactly is the “occhiatura”?

Yes, these rotondeggiant characteristic fores are carbon- used anidride bolles that stow away during maturation. And they can be various sizes, small and sweet like in our Montasio Dop!

Say cheese! The real meaning of the famous sentence.

We’re all smiling in the pictures. This, however, has not always been the case. Until the mid-nineteenth century, it was not common practice to smile for a photograph. According to historical records, the teeth first appeared in 1953. Instead, the first smiles appeared in the mid-1940s.

What is the cause of this change?

There’ s several theories about it. One of the most popular theories is that this habit was invented by American President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II.

It was a painful moment with nothing to laugh about. The war, the economic crisis, the bombs… it appears that Roosvelt decided to instill trust and hope in the population by displaying happy faces.

A form of resiliency, a modern-day revolutionary gesture. That smile contained the following promise: Come on, the war is about to end, and we will be fine again.

However, there’s another theory that would explain the use of the word “cheese,” when about to take a photograph.

A good English photographer wandered through the valleys of Friuli many years ago in search of the perfect photograph.

The scenery was beautiful, and the light was fantastic, but his boss kept saying he wanted something more… Something unique: something that had never been seen in a photograph before.

As a result, the photographer attended a village festival where farmers and shepherds displayed the fruits of their labor. And he thought that portraying those traditional figures would be a good idea, so he gathered a group of local men and women and asked them to pose for him in a serious and professional manner.

Those, on the other hand, kept smiling, and the photographer turned to see where they got their happiness. And he realized it. Behind him was the Montasio Dop display, and they were just cutting a large ivory wheel and arranging many cubes of soft Montasio on large porcelain plates to allow the tasting.

His photos became famous because they were unique, and he never forgot to ask anyone who posed for him to say: cheese!

And the choice has never been more appropriate: the calcium and phosphate found in Montasio are true allies of the smile. They aid in the regeneration of tooth enamel and minerals depleted by use.

Are you ready for a happy family selfie?

The beauty of food, Montasio: a work of art.

Let’s pretend we are in a museum. We’ve just walked down bright corridors lined with neoclassical sculptures. We have seen ancient ceramics, display cases completely covered with jewels. On the walls, ancient canvases depicting portraits of women, bucolic landscapes and still lives. We are literally breathing art. We are also surrounded by the genius of the people who went through this life before us. Nice to see their expressions and their looks. The atmosphere around us is full of beauty.

Our guide stops in front of a medium-sized crystal case from which two other groups of visitors have just departed. Taking a proud bearing, the guide says “Here we can see a typical masterpiece of dairy art.”

We all go to the display case, intrigued, and admire a cylindrical form of cheese with flat and slightly convex faces. The form is commanding and flawless.

The plate at the case’s base recites “MONTASIO DOP”.

“Montasio cheese is part of the great family of Alpine cheeses,” says the guide as he walks around the highly polished display case.

“These cheeses date back to the first millennium. Their production was used to secure a perishable product such as milk.

“This provided food reserves for times when milk was scarce or non-existent.” “What a time-saving invention!” “They could therefore manage to eat cheese all year round, as we do!” exclaims a child, causing the guide to jiggle.

“That’s right: I’m going to tell you a little bit of history now. Montasio was born around 1200 in the Julian and Carnic Alps valleys, thanks to the perseverance and intelligence of the Benedictine monks.” Continues the guide.

In Moggio Udinese (on the north side of Montasio), there is still the convent, which is now used by the Clarisse nuns, where the various Malghesi production techniques were most likely refined. Let’s appreciate the beauty of this shape: the rind is smooth and thin, with a light color that darkens with age.

As a result, the consistency is compact and elastic. It softens in the Fresco version and gradually strengthens in the medium until it becomes decisive with a slight spiciness in the seasoned.

Instead, the Stravecchio version is particularly aromatic. As a result, we can say that you are looking at a genuine work of… ”

“No!” “Wait a minute” “Before declaring that this is a work of art, a tasting is considered necessary.” Says a kid in the crowd.

The guide, smiling, nods. “You’re right: I was about to invite everyone to the tasting in the room next door!”The group applauds and rejoices because there is always a party when Montasio is present.

Montasio traditions. flavors at high altitude

Marika is well aware that vacation means outdoor activities for her family and husband. One of the reasons she married him was because of this.

Since she was a child, she had admired her father’s image of an adventurous man, capable of overcoming adversity with a cheerful demeanor, perhaps for the journey through the Montasio’s malghe, from Chiusaforte to the Giacomo di Brazzà refuge was a bit much for a first day of exploring the Val Arba nature reserve.

Sara wasn’t complaining, but Samuel was getting tired and disheartened, so he stopped asking how much was missing from the shelter.

– Perhaps we should go back… – Marika murmured, concerned.

– We’re almost there; just a few more steps and we’ll arrive at the refuge! Marco exclaimed, his usual smile on his face.

The sight of the house drew Samuel’s interest as he walked past everyone to get to the benches where he could sit while the adults stared out the window.

At the refuge, you could enjoy local specialties, and the manager suggested starting with cold cuts and mountain cheeses.

– I like cheese, but I’m lactose intolerant… – Marco explained.

– Don’t worry, the Montasio cheese produced in the malga is excellent, even for lactose intolerant people, and has so many good qualities for growth and health that it gives you enough energy to go around the huts twice.

The manager of the refuge explained that Montasio cheese is highly valued because, in ancient times, the breeders of neighboring villages drove their cows to the mountain huts, which were the best place for grazing despite being difficult to reach.

The cows are free to roam and are not confined to the enclosure all day, allowing them to breathe in the fresh mountain air and tender mountain herbs.

They produced exquisite milk for the calves and their owners under those conditions, a raw material for making cheeses and dairy specialties rich in calcium, proteins, and vitamins and with very low, if any, lactose concentrations.

– Do cows still graze in this area? Asked Samuel after eating his share of Montasio cheese as well as his father’s.

– Yes, you’ll find them when you get to the huts.

In fact, they discovered them grazing in a calm and peaceful manner, perfectly integrated with the profiles and slopes of Montasio.

Samuel had never seen them up close; he imagined them in a stable in the middle of the flat fields.

– They are nice because they allow themselves to be caressed! Samuel yelled.

– Yes, but please avoid making sudden movements that startle them! –

– All right! –

Marika thought she should have named him Peter, after Heidi’s friend, because he was so lively, with red cheeks and her father’s smile on his face.

Montasio and innovation: the two sides of manufacturing.

Marika and her family had decided to stop in Treviso for an aperitif during the aperitif time.

The recommended places to visit in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region’s tourist brochure looked amazing, and the recommended shops looked like boutiques. Sara was overjoyed. Following the excursion to the Malghe del Montasio, a visit to Treviso seemed as enjoyable as Sunday shopping at the mall.

– Look, the same cows as yesterday in the mountains! – Samuel exclaimed, pointing to the car window glass.

Beyond a fence and an endless field, the same quality of cows chosen to produce PDO cheesesgrazed with the same tranquillity as their mountain cousins.

A little further on, a sign directed you to the “Consorzio” and the dairy products shop (Latteria), where you could purchase fresh and genuine products. Sara began to puff when they decided to go see.

– Don’t worry, Sara; let’s just go see and then walk around Treviso. Marika murmured comfortingly.

In the Latteria, the retailers explained in detail which technologies had remained true to Montasio dairy traditions and which innovations had brought additional verified and certified benefits to the production of one of the region’s most renowned and sought-after cheeses.

Sara came across a brochure about the Composition of Italian PDO cheeses.

 During the production of some aged cheeses, bacteria are added to the milk, which eliminates lactose and converts it to lactic acid. Lactose-free Montasio aged 60 days, for example.

Lactose is present in quantities less than 0.01 g per 100 g of cheese, which is more than ten times lower than the limit set by national and community legislation.

Furthermore, the technology used to make Montasio cheese does not involve the use of gluten-containing ingredients. Laboratory research at the DISMA of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Milan also confirms that the Montasio cheese samples analyzed do not contain gluten and are therefore suitable for celiacs.

Sara was so immersed in her reading that she didn’t notice her parents and brothers had finished the tour.

Marco turned to Marika as he walked away, asking her to remember the location.

A basket of Montasio specialties would have been a tasty souvenir for the entire family’s taste buds.

– Okay, Sara, where are you? –I’ m here! – exclaimed the girl as she joined them.

She slipped the information brochure into her pocket, hoping She’d finish it later or at the next stop.

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: 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: 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 ( 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: 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: