Montasio Mezzano from Carnia with love

July 31, 2020 0 Comments

Montasio is a very well known and popular cheese in the production areas
and in the neighboring regions. It takes its name from the homonymous Montasio massif
in Friuli, where, in ancient times, it was produced in mountain pastures. Today the production area
is wider and includes Friuli-Venezia Giulia and some areas of the Veneto
territory: the provinces of Belluno and Treviso and part of those of Padua and Venice.

Montasio mezzano is a semi-hard cheese that, in accordance with
the provisions of the product specification, can only be obtained with cow’s milk harvested
harvested in the areas authorized for processing. The name of this cheese and the entire
production process are registered and protected at Community level
since 12 June 1996 by the Protected Designation of Origin, PDO, thanks also to the work of the Consortium
for the protection of Montasio Cheese founded in 1984.

The Montasio cheese is available in three varieties:

  • fresh with about 60 days of seasoning;
  • mezzano, aged for over 4 months and characterized by a stronger flavor and aroma;
  • seasoned, with over 10 months of seasoning and known for its slightly spicy aromatic taste.

History

Montasio cheese is produced in Friuli Venezia Giulia since the thirteenth century: the Benedictine friars
were engaged in the production of food stocks and
in Moggio Udinese, on the Montasio massif, they hosted the first productions
made by the local dairymans. This cheese has been produced for a long time
especially for family and local use in the valleys of the Giulie and Carniche Alps.

We must wait until 1775 to have documentary evidence
of the production and sale of Montasio.
At the end of the 1800s the first cooperative and turnaround dairies gave a significant boost
to the production and diffusion of this and other local cheeses. But it is about 40 years later
that, thanks also to the foundation of the school for technicians in San Vito,
Montasio becomes a real product for the market made with uniform technique
.

Production

The whole working process takes place, according to the specification, according to this
sequence:

  1. heating of the milk collected at a temperature of 32-36 °C;
  2. addition of the selected natural graft / ferment included in the Consortium’s list of authorizations;
  3. addition of rennet for milk coagulation;
  4. breakingthe curd, cooking at 42-48 ° C and spinning for about 30 minutes;
  5. extraction of the curd, pressing and turning of the shapes;
  6. salting dry or in brine, saturated solution of water and salt;
  7. seasoning.

Nutritional values

The Montasio mezzano after 4 to 10 months of maturation shows a
compact yellow texture and has a full taste even if still aromatic and not spicy.
Like other foods in the same category it is a good source of protein,
accounting for 26% of weight, and also fat, 33% of weight. The caloric intake
of a 50 g portion is about 200 kcal.

Like all medium-aged cheeses a portion can be the main
source of protein
of the meal at least 1 or 2 times a week but the significant salt content
suggests avoiding using this flavor in other dishes
and prefer salads dressed with spices and unsalted bread.

How to eat

Excellent served as it is, with a slice of toasted crispy bread, but also
in the typical Friulian recipe: frico. Potatoes, onions and montasio:
this is what is needed to make this recipe served as a main course or a single dish,
especially in Carnia. Grated potatoes, onions and chopped Montasio are mixed and cooked
in a pan to obtain a golden crispy “spianata” on both sides.

Bibliography:
– Italian cheeses: history, preparation techniques, combinations and tasting
Piero Maffeis HOEPLI EDITORE – 192 pages
– Essential guide to buying Italian cheeses Alberto Marcomini Giunti – 272
pages
– Production Regulations for the Protected Designation of Origin “Montasio”
Veneto region.
https://www.regione.veneto.it/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=75383aa2-6a87-
46d3-a9a8-1757d5a2ebd9&groupId=10701
(access of 27.09.2018)
– The Consortium for the protection of Montasio cheese.
– Friuli cuisine. Emilia Valli Newton Compton Editori 2012

Author
Francesca Antonucci