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Excellence Cheeses in the Italian Trentino Region

FORMAGGI DEL TRENTINO

PUZZONE di MOENA P.D.O.

There are elements to prove that a local Fassa cheese, characterized in particular by a creamy rind and a paste with an accentuated odour and aroma, was produced many years ago at the community dairies and in farmhouses, in particular in Val di Fassa, but also in some dairies in Val di Fiemme. It was a cheese with an accentuated taste and flavour which went a long way on the table of the poor peasants in the past: a small amount gave great flavour to a dish. Washing the cheeses with warm water, in certain cases to which some salt had been added, created a practically waterproof surface layer which fostered anaerobic fermentation on the inside, forming the characteristic smell and aroma of this cheese. Puzzone di Moena or Spretz Tzaorì, which means “tasty cheese” in Ladino, is certainly one of the most highly appreciated cheeses by connoisseurs and consumers looking for healthy and flavoursome products with a strong personality.

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VEZZENA del TRENTINO

Vezzena, since time immemorial, has been produced on the plateaux of Vezzena, Lavarone, Folgaria and Luserna. It is a cheese of age-old fame thanks to its exquisite flavour and because it can be served on the table and grated. Before the First World War, in Trentino, Vezzena was practically the only cheese added to dishes. The production then was modest, as was the consumption of grated cheese because pasta, a typical dish in Italian cooking, was not very common in old Trentino cuisine. Vezzena was grated on to soups or minestrone, on to canederli (small dumplings) or other dishes of those times. After the war and annexation to Italy, pasta became increasingly popular in Trentino as well and with it Grana rather than Vezzena, because the production of this cheese had practically disappeared, due to the fact that the pastures and the alpine grazing areas transformed into battle areas had been largely destroyed by bombings. The production of Vezzena also spread to other grazing areas in Valsugana and Vallagarina.

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CASOLET VAL di SOLE

This is a typical mountain cheese with a soft raw paste, made from full-fat milk which is traditional in the val di Rabbi and the val di Sole. It used to be produced only in the autumn, when the herds had already come down from the Alpine pastures, the cows were dry and there were few daily milkings: it was the “house” cheese par excellence, the cheese to be eaten in the family in the winter. ?Its name is Latin in origin: it comes from “caseolus” meaning small cheese and the most traditional cheeses are still about 10 cms. high today, and 10 centimetres in diameter for a total of about just one kilo in weight. As is often the case in artisanal production, there is no precise standard for production or dimension, and at times, the cheeses are larger, up to 2 or 3 kilos. This was also the case in the past, because the milk was used that was available each day: according to the amounts, the cheeses varied in size. This cheese is generally eaten fresh or semi-cured.

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FONTAL di CAVALESE

The name Fontal came into use in 1955 and comes from the contraction of the two names Fontina and Emmental as it is a synthesis of the characteristics of these two cheeses. Production of this cheese started in Val di Non at a private company making butter in the 1960s and 70s. Alongside the butter production, one of the partners of the company had introduced the production of a “Danish” type of cheese. the whey of which was used in the production of the blocks of butter. After a few years, this production was replaced by the similar production of Fontal. Around the 1970s, this cheese was made by the “large” Trentino dairy cooperatives which had the necessary equipment. Fontal Cavalese is a cheese with particular organoleptic characteristics, related in particular to the freshness and quality of the milk used and it is still a valid alternative in the diet today with respect to locally-made cheeses.

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AFFOGATO di SABBIONARA

Affogato all'Enantio made by the Dairy Cooperative of the same name, is the result of the union of two local products which have always belonged to the Lower Vallagarina: the local cheese and local cheese from the alpine pastures in particular, with Enantio Terra dei Forti wine. It is made by soaking the cheese in the wine for a period of 15-20 days, keeping it at a constant temperature of above 25°C. The cheeses have to be turned over daily to allow them to absorb the wine evenly. At the end of the process, the rind is opaque and purplish, with a delicate fruity scent that rejuvenates and improves the cheese, the paste takes on a particular softness and also takes on a fruity and aromatic smell, with a strong flavour which can become slightly sharp with the continuation of curing.

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TOSELA di PRIMIERO

Tosèla has always been made in the area of Primiero, on the farms where the farmers had small amounts of milk that were not enough to make other cheeses. Later it was produced in the cowherds’ huts and in the dairies at the bottom of the valleys, in other parts of Trentino and in neighbouring Veneto as well. Quality Tosèla is characterized by the freshness and the characteristics of the good milk from the Alpine valleys, such as that of Primiero. Farm B&Bs, restaurants, the small cafés in the Alpine meadows, especially in this area, also unfailingly offer Tosèla, which is used to make a local dish. It is cut into slices of about one centimetres, salted and fried in a thick-bottomed pan in melted butter for a few minutes. They are browned over a low heat and then turned over and the lid is put on the pan. When the slices are golden brown, they are served with hot or toasted polenta.

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MEZZANO TRENTINO

The Mezzano Trentino cheese, which has been aged between 4 and 8 months, acquires a unique, full-bodied savory flavour. It's called of "high mountain" because it's produced in the valleys of Val di Fiemme and Primiero (Predazzo, Cavalese and Primiero) at an altitude of around 1000 mt. This kind of cheese has created its own local market, as a tasty cheese to accompany any meals, less strong and spicy than Vezzena. The decision to produce this cheese comes from the need to have a product of high mountain accessible to consumer who loves sweet tasty and not too challenging (spicy) as it might be the Vezzena. During aging the cheeses has been rubbed and brushed and then anointed crusted with linseed oil every 15 days, to strengthen the crust and at the same time allowing the dough to remain soft and sweet inside and form the scattered holes.

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