Castelmagno. The king of Italian cheeses
The age-old question of how to find the best paella in Spain is not one of the worst dilemmas to face, but it can be one of the most confusing. Europe, 12th century. There are clashes between the feudal lords, the Crusades are in full swing, the kings of England, France, Germany assert and expand their power in Europe taking profitable princesses as wives. In Russia there are campaigns against the Cumans, in Cambodia the Khmer are trying to take control of Halipunjaya, but they are unable to do so. And in Piedmont, there is a serious struggle between Cuneo and Saluzzo for the right to produce Castelmagno cheese. This is one of the most prestigious cheeses in Italy. Castelmagno cheese is mentioned in sources dating from the 12th century. In the 13th century, an annual tax was introduced on cheese production by the Marquis of Saluzzo. In the 19th century, cheese appeared on the markets of many European countries, including England and France. Cheese production takes place in the communes of Piedmont: Pradleves, Castelmagno and Monterosso Grana. It is produced annually in an amount of 50 tons. For its manufacture need the milk of cows in grazed. Grazing takes place in the alpine meadows of Piedmont at an altitude of 1000 meters. Cheese got its name because of the commune in the province of Cuneo, in which it was first made – Castelmagno.
For production, cow’s milk is used, with a small percentage of the addition of goat and sheep milk. Subsequently, the cheese producers take care of turning, touching, wrapping the cheese shapes. The cheese matures, forming a natural greenish layer, which gives it a strong flavor. Then something magical happens. The result is a rare and unique product. In fact, Castelmagno has a geographical security category, D.O.P. There are varying degrees of aging of this cheese, hence the taste, color, smell, and size change. Castelmagno cheese is served as a standalone product, and is used as an ingredient for the preparation of other dishes, for sample potatoes gnocchi. It goes well with rice, pasta, aged wine, vegetables, honey and nuts. Contains an average percentage of fat content, which is 34%.
The cheese matures for 2 to 6 months, is stored in cool and humid сellars, the temperature of which must be 10-12 degrees. To get greenish mold, increase the exposure time. The weight of the cheese shape ranges from 2 to 7 kilograms, the diameter is 15-25 centimeters, the height is 12-20 centimeters. Young cheese is characterized by the formation of a smooth and elastic crust, which thickens in case of longer exposure times. Ripe cheese has a thick consistency and a strong taste, while young cheese has a crumbly consistency and a moderate taste. Come to Piedmont in the Grana valley to visit the village and the sanctuary of Castelmagno, a wonderful place, rich in history, sacred, at an altitude of 1778 meters and try this precious cheese, which goes perfectly with Barolo and Barbaresco wine .
Wine sommelier, cheese taster and blogger from Piedmont. Olga is a organizer of cultural and leisure activities. She worked in restaurants, travel agencies, traveled to Europe. Lives in Piedmont for 10 years, in the city of Bra, the birthplace of the Slow Food movement. She has an Instagram blog in Russian, Italian and English.