What is Raw Milk Cheese?
By Benedetta Bianchini
The ingredients of 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 actually only made with 4 ingredients: Milk, salt, rennet and microbes! But it’s the quality of the main ingredient that makes the world of a difference and it is what makes raw milk cheese the best of the best!
Europe & Raw Milk Cheese
In Europe, cheese tasters are better off than that 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” AKA straight-from-the-animal-and-not-pasturized. This makes a huge difference!
Why? Picture a healthy animal feeding on wild grass, flowers, and various other spontaneous 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, aromas as well as deliciousness that cannot be replicated in pasteurized milk. It just can’t! Sorry!
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 and that we love so much!
What pasteurization does to cheese
Pasteurization, on the other hand, destroys all the quality that is naturally present in the milk. All the beneficial bacteria, the natural flavour-producing enzymes, the calcium, minerals, protein, flavour, vitamin. Pasteurization kills all this and any flavor from the animal’s diet! Puff, all gone. The cheesemaker 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 90-Minute 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!