Gorgonzola is a very ancient cheese. Some say Gorgonzola was first produced in the town of Gorgonzola, near Milan, in the year 879 AD. Some other say that it was first produced in Pasturo nella Valsassina, a great cheese-making area for centuries, due to the presence of excellent natural caves where the average temperature is constantly between 6°C and 12°C. Therefore, this allows perfect making of Gorgonzola as well as several other cheeses. In any case, the town of Gorgonzola remained the most famous place, although it was not the main production or trade centre for various centuries. In fact, the real Gorgonzola’s first name was “stracchino di Gorgonzola”, later better defined with the synonym “green stracchino”.
Gorgonzola is a straw-white, soft cheese with greenish streaks deriving from a process called “erborinatura” in Italian, that is the creation of moulds. This cheese is creamy and soft, with a peculiar, typical taste. There are two types of Gorgonzola cheese: the Soft/Sweet one, which is slightly spicy; and the spicy one, which is thicker and crumblier, and whose curd is more blue-veined. Both types of Gorgonzola cheese are produced with pasteurized milk coming from cattle stations placed in the origin area, milk enzymes, and selected moulds giving the cheese its peculiar streaks.
According to the production regulations, the maturation of sweet Gorgonzola has a minimum maturation period of 50 days and a maximum of 150 days; the maturation of spicy Gorgonzola has a minimum maturation period of 80 days and a maximum of 270 days.
To enjoy better soft gorgonzola qualities, it is recommended that you take it out from the fridge at least thirty minutes before consumption.
By law and tradition, Gorgonzola cheese production is allowed in only two Italian regions and only the following provinces: Novara, Vercelli, Cuneo, Biella, Verbano Cusio Ossola, and the area of Casale Monferrato for Piedmont region, and Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Milano, Monza, Pavia, and Varese for Lombardy region.
Only milk produced in such provinces may be used to produce and grant Gorgonzola cheese a DPO certification, ensuring its authenticity from raw material.
Gorgonzola cheese is now produced by approximately 30 cheese factories in modern plants processing milk in accordance with hygiene and health standards, with fully equipped laboratories and the care and experience required for a kind of cheese that requires significant manual work and inspections.
Since 1970, the Consortium for the Protection of Gorgonzola Cheese has been protecting and supervising the production and trade of the Gorgonzola PDO and the use of its denomination, as well as promoting every useful initiative aimed at safeguarding its typicality and peculiar characteristics.
When was the last time you had dinner in an Italian restaurant in Canada and you thought you were dining in Italy? That’s exactly how “Ospitalità Italiana Certified”restaurants want you to feel when you visit their fine dining establishments.
Ospitalità Italiana is an official certification from Unioncamere, Italy’s federation of local Chambers of Commerce and Industry, that tells you that the food you are enjoying is unquestionably Italian: products are authentic, ingredients genuine and recipes true to the thousand year history of Italian cuisine.
Canada is home to some leading Italian Chefs. Passionate and innovative, many have refined their skills and advanced their knowledge directly in Italy. In addition, Montréal boasts a fabulous cooking school ITHQ where young aspiring chefs learn Italian technic and Italian traditional recipes from the masters.
So the next time you make reservations for an Italian dinner in a Montreal restaurant, ask if they’ve received the Ospitalità Italiana seal of approval. You will enjoy the true Italian taste.