Gorgonzola is one of the most renowned Italian cheeses in the world. It is a blue veined DOP cheese produced exclusively in Italy from whole cow milk. As it often happens for many specialties of the traditional Italian cuisine, its origins are halfway between legend and reality. According to the historians, the first Gorgonzola ever to be produced dates back somewhere between the 9th and the 12th century in a small village nearby Milan called Gorgonzola; this cheese was then named after this same village.
Back then, people did not use to pay much attention to the classification of cheeses as they were all referred to as “caseus”, a Latin word. Not even this special blue veined and moldy cheese was an exception to that rule. At that time, no one could explain exactly how Gorgonzola could be made, thus, it was regarded somewhat as the result of a plant process halfway between alchemy and magic, a sort of miracle of nature giving raise to that particular greenish nuance and unmatched flavor.
Subsequently, in the 16th century, Gorgonzola was also given the name stracchino. It referred to the cheese from the milk of weary cows recovering from the long descent from the high mountain pastures to the valley.
In the lowlands of Lombardy the stracchino was also known as erborin that meant parsley in the ancient dialect and thus, best described that greenish veining inside the cheese. Later on, the know-how of Gorgonzola was brought to the Piedmont region due to the migrations of Lombard dairymen’s families across the Ticino River, which separates the two regions.
Once passed the river, these dairymen decided to settle in the Novara area because they found it rich in water, pastures, cattle and, therefore, milk.
Gorgonzola must be made in the area of origin, with milk from the consortium territory and, in the same area, must be produced, seasoned and packaged for sale. If that does not occur, the cheese shouldn’t be regarded as Gorgonzola.
Gorgonzola DOP was lawfully recognized by the UE in the year 1996.
Each and every cheese round weighing about 12kg is labeled at the origin, displays information about the cheese maker. In order to be sold as such, each round should be wrapped in aluminum foil displaying small embossed “g” printed all over the wrapping foil: without this trademark of the Consortium, the cheese shouldn’t be regarded as Gorgonzola.
Gorgonzola is made in part of the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy.
Gorgonzola cheese is produced with milk of the highest quality, free of disinfectants, pesticides and antibiotics. Otherwise the molds and lactic acid bacteria wouldn’t be able to grow as they are very delicate and susceptible to the surrounding environment; they are the key components of the taste qualities of the Gorgonzola DOP.
From a nutritional stand point, Gorgonzola is a wholesome food, containing all the essential nutritional elements to ensure a homogeneous psychophysical development and a balanced intake of healthy daily energy. It is very rich in minerals and vitamins and is a unique food due to its nutritional and antioxidant properties; the ideal ingredient for the preparation of many tasty recipes.
Happy Hour recipe: TRITTICO DI VOL AU VENT AL GORGONZOLA
1 pack of frozen vol au vents
Bake frozen vol au vents in pre-heated oven at 180°. When almost baked take out of oven and fill in the following ways:
– Sweet gorgonzola with asparagus
– Sweet gorgonzola with shrimps
– Spicy gorgonzola with pears
Bake in oven for about 2 minutes
The best wines: Bonarda and Lambrusco
Primo piatto recipe PENNETTE GRATINATE AL GORGONZOLA
150g sweet gorgonzola
50g spicy gorgonzola
350g di penne
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP
Melt both types of gorgonzola in a pan and add 3 spoons of milk without bringing to the boil. In the meantime cook the penne so that it is “al dente”. Put everything into a pyrex dish, sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and grill for 5 minutes.
The best wines: Erbaluce – Arneis – Sauvignon
Secondo piatto Scaloppine al gorgonzola
4 veal escalopes
150g sweet gorgonzola
1 glass dry white wine
Remove the crust from the gorgonzola and cut it into four slices. Flour the veal cutlets. Melt the butter in a frying pan, cook the meat on both sides until golden and douse with the white wine. Place the gorgonzola over the slices of veal, cover with a lid and cook for one minute on slow heat. Serve immediately on warm plates.
The best wines: Erbaluce – Sauvignon