Montasio is a cheese made of cow’s milk, which is native to North Eastern Italy. Montasio is tender and smooth in texture, and sweet in taste, though longer aging tends to give it a firm and granular form. It is aged for a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of 10 months. It comes in fresh, medium aged and aged variants according to the duration of aging, and has a brown rind that becomes hard on aging. The milk used for preparing it is partly skimmed. The specific regions of its production in Italy are Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. In 1986, it was conferred with the ‘protected designation of origin’ status, as per a regulation by the European Union meant to protect local products from unfair competition and unauthentic duplication from outside.
History of Montasio
Montasio cheese production dates back to the 13th century. It was first produced by monks of the Carnic Alps region, and at that time it was called ‘Carnia’. Since 1986, it enjoys ‘protected designation of origin’ status and its production is governed by regulations of the Montasio Cheese Consortium.
Culinary Uses of the Montasio Cheese
Montasio cheese is eaten on its own or used as an ingredient in grated form in a range of recipes. It is known to particularly pair well with a number of wines, for example with Sauvignon Blanc.
Popular Montasio Recipes
There are a wide variety of Montasio recipes which use the cheese in different stages of preparation. Here are some examples of popular montasio recipes-
- Swiss Chard Cake: This is circular shaped cooked chard, which contains filling of montasio. It is an excellent side dish along with grilled meat, or also eaten as a snack.
- Chickpea Flatbread: Flatbread like naan is topped with cooked and spiced chickpea and cheese to prepare this dish.
Nutritive Value of Montasio
It is a rich source of calcium, just like other varieties of cheese. It is hence beneficial for bone health and dental care, as well as in conditions like osteoporosis. Montasio is also considered helpful for gaining weight and in hypertension. It is a rich source of B vitamin.