Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Cheese: Raschera DOP

There are so many fantastic cheeses in the Langhe and Piemonte in general, it seems remiss of me not to have featured some of them. To correct that oversight, let me begin with Raschera.

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Raschera has D.O.P status (Protected Designation of Origin) and can only be made in the province of Cuneo. Its origins are in the Monregalese Alps and is named after Lake Raschera which is found there.

There is also a Raschera d'Alpeggio DOP which is made during summer in only 9 villages that lie above 900 meters in the Monregalesi Valley.

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Raschera is preservative free and predominately a cows milk cheese, though both sheep or goat milk can be incorporated. The milk is heated to just under 30˚ before rennet is added. The curds are broken then collected to drain before being pressed into moulds and weighted. After 12 hours the cheese is removed from the moulds and then salted. Finally it is left to mature on wooden shelves for at least 30 days.

The colour can range from white to ivory and structurally has a stretchy texture and is dotted with small holes throughout. It is a good all-round cheese, enjoyable on a cheese board, diced in salads, sliced in sandwiches or melted into sauces - it also makes a fantastic cheese soufflé. The flavour is mild and fresh when young but with ageing can tend to develop more savoury and spicy notes.

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