Saturday, May 24, 2014

Raschera DOP

                                                           Squared Raschera DOP

Today we're presenting an artisanal cheese, Raschera DOP in its two variants: regular and d'alpeggio or alpine pasture. This is a traditional cheese of the Cuneo mountains and it can include cow, sheep or goat's milk. It is produced all year long and it can take two shapes: round or squared.
It takes the name from Lake Raschera at the foot of Mt. Mongioie and its origins date back to the end of 1400, in fact, a legal document of that time states that shepherds in the Pamparato area, one of the communes where the cheese is produced, were supposed to pay their rent with Raschera wheels.
In Roccaforte Mondovi' a fresco by Giovanni Mazzucco portrays local monks making cheese.

                                           Medieval fresco showing a local monk making cheese

Raschera facts:
  • it gained the DOC (Designation of Origin) certification in 1982
  • it gained the DOP (PDO: Protected Designation of Origin) certification in 1996
  • only Raschera DOP d'Alpeggio is produced up the mountains, above 900m on the sea level and it is produced between June and September
  • Raschera DOP is generally produced in the Cuneo area
  • when it is produced between November and April it's labelled invernale or wintry
  • it matures for at least 1 month
  • its paste is raw, pressed and sami-hard
  • color: ivory white
  • its flavor is mild, delicate, slightly hot and salty if aged
  • its texture is elastic and dotted with irregular holes spread out 
  • Raschera d'Alpeggio keeps the perfume of the mountain pastures
  • even though it is made of cow's milk, sheep and goat milk can be added
  • the rind has reddish veins due to the molds produced by the humidity of the celle or cell where it matures

Nowadays 99% of Raschera has square shape which was created back when mules transported this cheese from the mountains to the valleys. 
Raschera is delicious to be eaten on its own or added to salads. It can also be melted and added to risottos, ravioli and potato gnocchi. Follow your creativity and make any dish you like because Raschera is very flexible!

Most of the wines produced in the Cuneo wine districts will match Raschera perfectly like: Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and even Arneis :P

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