Montasio is a typical cheese that has been officially protected since 1955. It obtained the Designation of Origin in 1986 and in June 1996 the special PDO certification (Protected Designation
of Origin) from the European Union. The cheese is named after the Montasio massif in Friuli. It has been produced in the summer pastures of the massif since the eighteenth century, through the loving care of the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Moggio Udinese. Since then, the skill of Montasio production has spread to the Julian and Carnic Alps and on down into the plains of Friuli and Veneto. Nowadays,
the main production areas are in the provinces of Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia, Trieste, Treviso, Belluno and some areas in the provinces of Padua and Venice, while still holding true to the traditional eighteenth century recipe.
Montasio is a medium-hard, cooked-curd cheese made using only cow’s milk from its production area. The origin of the milk is strictly controlled by the Protection Consortium.
The four different stages of maturation give rise to its varied range of sensorial features.
• The fresh, or mild, variety (between 60 and 120 days of ripening), has a soft and delicate flavour.
• The semi-mature or medium variety (from 4 to 10 months), has a more decisive flavour, with a distinctively striking full taste.
• The mature (over 10 months)
• The special extra-mature (aged for over 18 months) varieties flaunt particularly aromatic flavours.
“Frico” with potatoes and Montasio cheese
• 250 g Montasio cheese aged from 3 to 9 months
• 3 large potatoes
• Half an onion
• 80 g lightly smoked pancetta (bacon)
• Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the pancetta into small cubes and brown them in a frying pan together with the finely sliced onion. Peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the pan with a pinch of salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. When the potatoes have softened, stir in the thickly chopped or grated Montasio cheese. Fry the “frico” on both sides until a golden crust has formed.