Valtellina Casera cheese is obtained from milk produced in dairy farms in the province of Sondrio and is processed in dairies situated in the surrounding territory. The cheese is matured in the traditional ‘casere’ [mountain huts] or other appropriate structures. Its origins date back to the 1500s, when several farmers would combine their milk in order to produce cheese on a collective basis in the local shift-turn and cooperative dairies, thus not only reducing costs, but also allowing them to share their work and have more free time. It is produced all year round.
Valtellina Casera cheese is produced with partially skimmed cow’s milk. The cows, from which the milk is drawn, are fed mainly on wild and herbage plants, sometimes in the form of hay, in the area of production. The curd is cooked at a temperature ranging from 40° to 45°C.
Maturing takes a minimum of 70 days. Valtellina Casera has a smooth, cylindrical shape, with flat top and bottom surfaces, is 30-45 cm in diameter and 8-10 cm high. The weight varies from 7 to 12 kg and the rind is thin but firm. The paste, ranging from white to straw-yellow, is elastic with fine, extensively distributed eyes. As the cheese matures, the paste darkens and becomes firmer.
Fresh Valtellina Casera cheese has a sweet and milky flavour. It is well-suited to buckwheat-based specialities and is a prime ingredient of typical Valtellina dishes such as pizzoccheri and sciatt. The flavour becomes stronger as the cheese ages and its aromas hint of nuts and hay.
Risotto with Valtellina Casera
cheese and red wine
• 320 grams of rice
• 50 grams of onion
• 2 spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil
• 2 dl of Valtellina red wine DOC
• I.5 litres of stock
• 50 grams of butter
• 100 grams of mature Valtellina Casera cheese
Brown the onion with the oil on a very low heat. When it becomes blond and transparent, add the rice, cook and add the red wine. As it starts to absorb, start to gradually add the stock until the cooking is complete.
Cut the butter and add the pieces as well as the cheese to the pan and cook until creamy.
Leave the risotto to stand for a few moments before serving.