Tuesday, October 25, 2011


What we in this country know simply as, "Gorgonzola," is more formally called "Stracchino di Gorgonzola" in Italy. "Stracchio," which comes from the Italian word for tired (stracca), illustrates the process of the "tired" cows being milked in the course of their long autumn and spring walks to and from seasonal pastures. The herds would stop for a rest in the Lombardy town of Gorgonzola, resulting in Gorgonzola being flush with milk twice a year, the excess was used to make cheese. Today, Italian law and tradition dictates that Gorgonzola can only be made in either Lombardy or Piedmonte.

Gorgonzola Dolce is moister, softer, and creamier than its older sister, Gorgonzola Piccante. Having been washed repeatedly with a brine during its three months of cave-aging, Gorgonzola Dolce develops an aromatic buttery yellow paste shot with greenish mold. This blue cow's milk cheese is rich and spicy with fresh notes of grass in the swallow. This is a D.O.P. cheese.

Gorgonzola Piccante (also called naturale, di monte, or stagionato) is firmer and drier than its younger sibling, Gorgonzola Dolce. Having been washed repeatedly with a brine during its year or more of cave-aging, Gorgonzola Piccante develops a powerful aroma and a sticky rind. Compared to the Dolce, which has a yellowy paste that is shot with greenish mold, this cheese tends more toward the ivory with bluer striations. Spicy and earthy, Piccante is the more aggressive and sharp of the two Gorgonzolas. This is aslo a D.O.P. cheese.

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