A Guide to Italian Raw Milk Cheese
All you need to know about raw milk cheese
Cheese is a magical product created (by mistake or pure luck) thousands of years ago. Today this mistake brings such moments of happiness to all cheese lovers out there. If you actually stop and think about it, this incredible bundle of joy is made of just four ingredients: milk, salt, rennet, and microbes! But it’s the quality of the main ingredient that makes the world of a difference and that what makes raw milk cheese the best of the best!
Europe & Raw Milk Cheese
In Europe, cheese tasters are much luckier than in the US. This is not us Italians bragging, it’s the truth. In the US, by law, cheese has to be made with pasteurized milk (or has to age at least 60 days before going on the market). In countries like Italy and France, we have the option of using raw milk, that is milk that comes straight from the animal and has not been pasteurized. This makes a huge difference to the flavor and texture of the cheese.
So why is raw milk so much better? Well, picture a healthy animal feeding on wild grass, flowers, and plants. Now imagine the milk of this animal, full of healthy bacteria, flavor, good microbes, natural enzymes, calcium, minerals, and a whole bunch of other good stuff. The cheese produced from this milk will have a complexity of flavors and aromas as well as freshness that simply cannot be replicated in pasteurized milk.
Even though some bacteria will die off after the initial step of cheesemaking, there are survivors that will contribute to the character of the flavor. This helps create the intricate array of aromas that are unique to each individual cheese.
What pasteurization does to cheese
The process of pasteurization, on the other hand, destroys all the qualities that are naturally present in raw milk. All the beneficial bacteria, the natural flavor-producing enzymes, the calcium, minerals, protein, flavor, and vitamins. Pasteurization kills all this together with any natural flavor from the animal’s diet in one fell swoop. The cheesemaker then has a clean canvas to work with, making every batch of milk the same. This is not necessarily bad, but raw milk cheese is a totally different deal.
If you love this amazing food you cannot miss out on a raw milk cheese tasting! Our fabulous Cheese & Wine Tasting will take you on a journey across Italy’s great raw-milk craft cheeses paired with a selection of Italian wines. This is a truly unique opportunity to become acquainted with some of the best raw-milk cheeses and wines produced in Italy. Our wine sommelier and professional cheese taster will take you by the “nose” and, needless to say, your love for cheese will grow exponentially!