Posted by: lisetta | July 27, 2008

Raschera

A few weeks ago while I was in Pittsburgh, I bought several pounds of my favorite cheeses, but forgot them in my friend’s refrigerator! If he weren’t clinically depressed, I’d have badgered him to mail the cheese my way. Instead, I continued to do without, as I’ve been doing since May. It appears that life without an occasional cheese course is indeed possible.  At Carlino’s yesterday, I overlooked the plastic wrap and bought one of my old Piemontese favorites: raschera. 

Produced in the Maritime Alps in the provincia di Cuneo in southern Piemonte, this cow’s milk cheese is aged anywhere from 1 to 6 months. Thanks to its status as a PDO product, we can read all about its varieties and production on its consortium’s website:

Following the decree of the President of the Republic on the 16/12/1982, the RASCHERA cheese was given the Controlled Origin of Denomination label (C.O.D.) which guarantees a genuine product of high quality, an improvement in distribution and protection against imitations. It distinguishes in it two kinds of Raschera cheese, namely:

“RASCHERA D’ALPEGGIO”, which can be produced and ripened over 900 m above sea level in the area of the following towns: Frabosa Soprana, Frabosa Sottana, Garessio for the side of Casotto Valley, Magliano Alpi for the side bordering with the town of Ormea, Montaldo Mondovì, Ormea, Pamparato, Roburent and Roccaforte Mondovì;

“RASCHERA”, which can be produced in the whole area around the province of Cuneo.

This differentiation is due to historical reasons: every summer for ages “malgari” (breeders of transhumant ovines and oxen) have been leading their herd to pasture on high places (named “malghe”, from here the name of “malgari”) in the mountains around Mondovì (the Maritime Alps), which are situated between the Po plain and the Ligurian sea. The climate is here quite rainy, but becomes mild thanks to the closeness to the sea. As a result, there is a rich vegetation, which makes these pastures very interesting from the botanic point of view, since you can find in it many kinds of grass (more of hundred endemics!). Both richness and variety of this grass let milk assimilate a particular taste and scent, which are exclusive of these places.

As a consequence, cheese coming from this milk assume itself an unmistakable flavour, typical only of this area.

It’s much saltier than I remember it being; have decided I’d much rather eat a mozzarella. I think I’ll take some in to Dave and Jeff, my cheese-loving colleagues. Here are some pics I snapped while visiting Mondovì last year:

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Responses

  1. oh my where can i get Raschera in the US ?
    I miss it.

  2. What part of the states are you in? You could order it online from Penn Mac in Pittsburgh … for $10.99/pound plus shipping. Check out http://www.pennmac.com/page/132 … and note that they’ve misspelled it as “rashera”. Good luck!


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