The cheese-making literature includes one group of cheeses of particular scientific and commercial interest; this group includes the so-called blue cheeses, known as “erborinati” in Italian. The term “erborinatura” cannot be explained on the basis of any technical or scientific etymology. It is simply the Italian translation of the word “erborin” which means parsley in the dialect of Lombardy; these cheeses contain special moulds that belong to the Penicillium genus. As the mould grows it gives the cheese a bluish-green marbled effect, in which the veins look like parsley stirred into the cheese. A typical Italian product with all the characteristics of a blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola, is Castelmagno.
This cheese takes its name from the commune of Castelmagno, which lies between the Maritime Alps and the Cottian Alps in the province of Cuneo, where it has been produced and traded since ancient times. The origins of Castelmagno can be traced far back in history. It is thought to have been invented a little later than, if not at the same time as Gorgonzola, of which there are records dating back to 1100. Castelmagno DOP can be produced, ripened and packaged only in the administrative area of Castelmagno, Pradleves and Monterosso Grana in the province of Cuneo. The milk used to make the cheese must also come from the same area. Castelmagno DOP is produced from cow’s milk, sometimes from a blend of cow’’s, sheep’s and/or goat’s milk in a percentage ranging from 5% to 20% max. The cheese shape is round with flat faces, with a diameter 15 to 25 cm and sides 12 to 20 cm. Its weight may vary from 2 to 7 kg. Ripening takes place in 60 days as a minimum.
Rice with Castelmagno, nuts and honey
Ingredients : (serves 4)
• 600 g Carnaroli Rice
• 1 onion
• Vegetable broth
• DOC white wine from Piedmont
• 500 g Castelmagno DOP
• Extra virgin olive-oil
Heat butter in a large pan. Chop the onion and fry until soft and pale golden brown. Add rice, mix and fry for some minutes. Add Doc white wine. Cook until the wine is completely evaporated, add Castelmagno cut into pieces and cook with vegetable broth, stirring all the time by using a wooden spoon.
When ready, add 200 g crumbled Castelmagno and 3 spoonful honey. Stir up well and cook for a while. Add butter and Castelmagno cheese in slices. Cruck nuts and sprinkle top with them. Add 1 tablespoon honey.
Recommended wine to accompany this recipe: Roero Arneis.