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the most “fragrant” cheese in Italy

In the Val di Fassa it is called “spretz tzaori“, which in the local Ladin culture means “tasty cheese”, for everyone else it is the Puzzone di Moena. AOP cheese, as its name suggests, is distinguished by its very strong and penetrating smell, defined by many as “stench”. The most popular question about the excellence of Trentino is whether the flavor is as strong as its smell. The answer is simple: yes and no. Although it is a product with a strong taste, its intense fragrance is actually due to the skin. The Puzzone, in reality, is a delicious cheesecharacterized by a mild flavor with a bitter aftertaste which makes it perfect for the most varied recipes, although it is best combined with traditional preparations.

What is Puzzone di Moena: flavor and origin of the name

The Puzzone di Moena PDO is a very characteristic cheese, typical of Val de Fassa and of Val de Fiemme, recognizable by its moist rind covered with a greasy patina, responsible for its particularly pungent smell. The name by which it is known seems to derive from this peculiarity: the terminology was introduced at the beginning of the 70s, when the cheese left its valleys to be marketed even outside the production areas. Another version of the story, on the other hand, says that it was baptized by one of the historical cheese makers of the Moena DairyPhone Giuseppe Redolfalso known as Bepi Puzo.

Whatever the truth, the Puzzone di Moena today it has conquered palaces all over Italy. Thanks to the unique flavor that distinguishes it, a spicy taste he carries with him notes of pasture, grass and ripe fruitwith hints of grilled hazelnut. Its full, white paste, with spicy notes, si obtained from Kurdish milk with maturation ranging from a minimum of 90 days to a maximum of 8-10 months. The success of the Puzzone di Moena it is so large that to date around 13,000 wheels are produced, all created and matured in Dairy of Predazzo and Moena.

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How is Puzzone di Moena prepared? Treatment phases and “special” variants

The treatment of Puzzone di Moena takes place exclusively in Dairy of Predazzo and Moena, responsible for checking that all the rules of the cheese manufacturing specifications are respected. Everything comes from Milkfrom animals that graze at a minimum altitude of 1000 meters, up to 2000 meters from the mountain pastures: it is essential that the cows are fed without silage, and with feed made from noble raw materials, and that the milk is processed without any kind of additive.

The main part of the production process of Puzzone di Moena and the seasoning, a moment that also determines the different types of cheese on the market. In general, after being salted for two days in brine, the Puzzone is kept in cool rooms, placed on wooden boards and turned twice a week to be brushed and cleaned with a solution of water and salt or only with lukewarm water: just its intense smell comes from this treatment.

Depending on the days of ripening, different types of cheese are obtained: the Seasoned Puzzone di Moena PDO rest for 5 months and has an intense and complex flavor, perfect to be used as table cheeseas a typical ingredient Dumplings or to prepare creams and fondues. In version “StravecchioInstead, cheese rest 10 months and takes on a much more pronounced taste, which goes very well with polenta and red wine.

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A real rarity, however, is represented by the Puzzone di Moena PDO from Malgaalso become Slow Food Sentinel for its particularity: it comes produced with raw alpine milk, which is why it retains all the scent of high pastures and flowers. Season 3 to 6 monthsbears the M di Malga and has been produced in very few forms since Social dairy Predazzo and Moenafrom Primiero District Dairy and of Val di Fiemme Cavalese Social Dairy.

Puzzone di Moena in the kitchen: how to combine Trentino cheese

Intense, tasty and full of all the flavors of the mountains, the Puzzone di Moena in the kitchen it can be used in different ways. For a pure tasting it is perfect to combine with the Red wineswhich enhance the flavor, while as an ingredient it gives the best in traditional recipes.

The Puzzone di Moenain fact, it is perfect to be inserted inside the Canederli noodles with cheeseor to melt into cubes on the polenta, then eat it while still warm and stringy. For something more challenging, the Puzzone can be used to whip up a tasty four cheese risottoor to knead Gnocchi. To prepare the Puzzone dumplings moisten the stale white bread with lukewarm milk, add the diced cheese and mix everything with the eggs and flour.

You can also let your imagination run wild and use the Puzzone di Moena for delicious recipes such as melted cheese croutons, cheese scallops Where fried cheese nuggets.

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