€7.80 – €23.40
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- 2 months min
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Gorgonzola is a blue cow’s-milk cheese made in specific areas of Piemonte and Lombardia in Northern Italy. This cheese is graded in accordance with the amount of blue in the paste, either sweet (dolce) or sharp (naturale, piccante, di monte or stagionato). Gorgonzola Dolce has a soft, creamy texture and a slightly blue flavour. Our Gorgonzola is the Fior di Gorgonzola from Santi’s Quattrorosa line. This is Santi’s finest Gorgonzola; rich, creamy and beautifully marbled. It is semi-hard in texture, and has the kind of flavour you simply don’t find in standard versions of this oft-maligned cheese.
Try it with pears and walnuts, for the ultimate in modest luxury.
By law only certain provinces within these two Italian regions may produce Gorgonzola: Novara, Vercelli, Cuneo, Verbania and Biela in Piemonte and Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Londi, Pavia and Varese in Lombardia.
Gorgonzola is a cheese with ancient origins, although there is some dispute as to exactly how old the cheese is. There is evidence that Gorgonzola was being produced in the town of Gorgonzola, outside Milan, as early as 879 AD. Others claim that the cheese originated in Pasturo, in the Valsassina, where the low, constant temperatures in the surrounding caves were eminently suited to the maturation of cheeses such as Gorgonzola. The caves also contain moulds which naturally blue the cheese over time.
Gorgonzola was traditionally made in the autumn using the milk of cattle returning from the high Alpine pastures where they spent the summer grazing. The long journey from the summer pastures to the flatlands would leave the cattle exhausted. This is why the cheese used to be know first as stracchino di Gorgonzola and later as stracchino verde or green stracchino. The term stracchino comes from the word stracca, local dialect meaning tired. Stracchino Tipico, a Taleggio type cheese continues to be made, in small quantities in Bergamo and Como today.
To make Gorgonzola; cow’s milk is pasteurized and heated to 30°C. A blue-ing agent- both penicillium roqueforti and penicilium glaucum may be used- , starter culture and rennet are added at this point. 30 minutes later the resultant curd is cut into cubes, left to stand in the whey for a further 10 minutes, then cut into walnut sized lumps. The curds are then lifted into cheese cloth and left to drain for 30 minutes. Afterwards the curd is transferred to cylindrical moulds and left to drain on slanted boards for 24 hours. The following day the moulds are brought to the ‘purgatories’, rooms at 20-22°C with 96% humidity, they are ripened here for 4-5 hours before being salted. Traditionally dry salting is used, although many larger operations use brine baths to cut down on labour. The cheeses are pierced about a month later, releasing the latent blue potential which they contain because of the initial addition of blue mould.
Affinage takes a minimum of two months. Sharp Gorgonzola, or gorgonzola piccante as we call it in Sheridans, is firmer in texture, far more piquant and blue and must be matured for at least three months.
Born out of a perceived need for the cheesemakers to protect their product from an increasing array of imitators the consorzio per la tutela del formaggio Gorgonzola was founded in 1970. All cheese sold under the name Gorgonzola must be approved by the consorzio. All genuine Gorgonzola carries the stamp of the consorzio on its rind and has numerous letter g’s on the foil in which the cheese is wrapped.