Monte Veronese is one of the first Italian cheeses to have been received the Protected Designation of Origin, which detects since 1993. Made in the two versions “whole milk” and “d’allevo”, it can easily adapt to many gastronomic needs.
The tradition of Monte Veronese cheese intertwines the geographical heritage of the area between Monti Lessini and Monte Baldo, in the amazing scenery of the province of Verona.
The story of this cheese is surely very old. An evidence of its remote roots can be found in its original name. “Caseus macaegus” or “Caseus oculus” are typical terms of Ancient Rome, which refers to the presence of many little holes in the internal part of cheese, more evident in the “d’allevo” version.
According to the evidences, the original working processes of Monte Veronese were not so developed, but were refined a few years later, with the arrive of the Cimbri people in the area near Verona.
The importanc of this great product has been recognized not only with the PDO recognition, in 1993, but also with the enter in the prestigious Slow Food Products, in particular for the “d’allevo” version.
Since 1983 the Consortium Monte Veronese protects this important cheese, promoting many initiatives, tastings and festivals, in order to diffuse this product’s name worldwide. The Consortium symbol is an eagle on the top of a stairway, in honor of the famous Scala family, who ruled the city of Verona for a long time.
Milk used to make Monte Veronese DOP is gathered from the northern part of the Province of Verona.
The product can be distinguished depending on the working processes and the organoleptic characterics, in Monte Veronese “fresh milk” and “d’allevo”.
The first one is a semi-cooked cheese, used mainly as a table cheese. It is made from fresh whole milk, added with rennet and starter bacteria. After 15-20 minutes starts to appear the curd, which can be broken lately until the achievement of some granules with the dimensions of a grain of rice.
Then curd is heated for 10 minutes at a temperature of 45°. After this step, it is left to rest, allowing the extraction of the liquid part from the solid one. This process goes on for 25-30 minutes, then buttermilk finishes to clean out in the following 24 hours.
At this point there is the salting process, dry or in brine. The product is left to mature for 30 days.
Monte Veronese “d’allevo”, instead, is good both at table or grated. It is made with semi-skimmed cow’s milk. The maturation occurs for a minimum of 90 days, and even for six months for grated cheese.
Taste and characteristics
Monte Veronese “whole milk” has a cylindrical shape, a height of about 7-11 centimeters and a diameter of 25-35 centimeters. Rind is quite thin, elastic, with a straw-yellow color, which can become more intense as the maturation goes by. Inside, cheese can be white or straw-colored, with a few holes, diffused on the entire surface. The taste is the same of the other semi-hard cow’s cheeses, delicate and at the same time particularly pleasant, thanks to the use of whole milk, which gives to the product an interesting yogurt scent.
Monte Veronese “d’allevo” has the same external characteristics of “whole milk” version, from which it differs for the internal aspect, with many holes and a diameter of 3 centimeters. The taste is another particular note, with the strong scent of seasoned cheeses, which achieve a certain spiciness as the maturation proceeds.