Castelmagno is a semi-hard cheese with greenish strains, which is prepared with cow’s milk, to which small quantities of sheep’s or goat’s milk may be added. It is aged for 2-6 months in cool caves of high humidity. It is prepared from the milk of cattle of the Piedmont breed, which have been fed on fresh vegetation of meadows. It is native to Piedmont, a region in North West Italy, and enjoys ‘protected designation of origin’ status by the European Union, which is a regulation meant to protect local produce from unfair competition or unauthentic duplicates from outside.
Castelmagno is the name of a commune in Valle Grana, where the cheese is traditionally prepared. Production is currently permitted in Pradleves, Monterosso Grana and Castelmagno communes of Valle Grana.
History of Castelmagno Recipes
Castelmagno is known to have been prepared as early as in 1277, and possibly earlier. There is a legend that the cheese was served to Emperor Charlemagne. It is said that initially he rejected the green mold of the cheese, but later became so fond of this cheese that he wanted it as a part of his meals. It is also said that later on, the marquis of Saluzzo charged the people from Castelmagno for using the pastures of Celle, but the tax was charged not in money but in wheels of the cheese. Ownership of wheels of Castelmagno also happened to be the pretext of a war between Saluzzo and Cueno.
The production of this type of cheese has acquired ‘protected designation of origin’ status since 1996. Its production is now restricted to three communes of Valle Grana.
Culinary Uses of the Castelmagno
Castelmagno can be eaten on its own, or can be used as an ingredient in a range of recipes. Some examples are fondues and veloutees. It also pairs well with pasta, rice, polenta, grilled vegetables and beef.
Popular Castelmagno Recipes
There are numerous Castelmagno recipes to prepare different types of snacks and main course dishes. Here are a few examples of popular
Green Agnolotti with Castelmagno Fondue
This is prepared by filling nutshell sized fondoe made of castelmagno cheese soaked in milk, along with eggs, butter and flour between sheets of pasta dough. The sheets of the dough are then pressed around the fondue and cut by means of a ravioli cutter. The agnolotti thus prepared in cooked in boiling water, and then served with melted butter.
Gnocchi with Castelmagno cheese
These are gnocchis that are made of boiled and mashed potatoes and flour, and cooked in boiling water till they are rise up in the water. They are tossed with Castelmagno cheese sauce.