Gorgonzola PDO is a soft cheese with blue-green marbling, produced with whole pasteurised cow’s milk originating from the production area. It is distinguished by the following typologies: Piccante (Piquant - in small and medium forms) and Dolce (Sweet - large form).
The milk is pasteurised through the inoculation of lactic acid bacteria belonging to the L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus species, Penicillium roqueforti spores and yeasts selected from the Saccharomyces species; calf rennet is added and the milk is curdled at a temperature of 28-36°C. After the curd has broken, it is left to stand in order to stimulate the purging of the whey before being put in metal molds (fasceruoli), where it is left for 24 hours to take its shape. The product is then dry salted at a temperature of 18-24°C. A variety of characteristic Penicillium moulds develop during the ripening process, giving the cheese its bluish-green colour. The ripening period lasts for a minimum of 50 days for the large forms of Gorgonzola PDO, 60 days for the small form and 80 days for the medium one; ripening takes place in an environment with a temperature of 2-7°C and with a relative humidity of 85-99%.
Appearance and Flavour
Gorgonzola PDO has a cylindrical shape with flat surfaces. The rind is grey and/or pinkish in colour and is inedible. The raw cheese is white and straw yellow in colour, marbled with characteristic blue-green veins of mould. Its flavour varies from sweet, to slightly or very piquant.
The production area of Gorgonzola PDO is within the entire territory of the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Milan, Pavia, Varese and Monza in the Lombardy region; within the provinces of Biella, Cuneo, Vercelli, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and within 31 municipal areas in the Province of Alessandria, in the Piedmont region.
There are many legends about the origins of Gorgonzola PDO, although the majority agrees that it dates back to the X-XII century, close to the town of Gorgonzola in the Province of Milan. Up until the end of the XX century, this cheese was simply called stracchino or, more often, stracchino verde or stracchino di Gorgonzola. It was only the necessity of distinguishing and valorising the cheese produced in the typical terroir of origin which led to it being given the definitive name of Gorgonzola.
Gorgonzola PDO is best preserved wrapped in aluminium foil and placed in a sealed container in the least cold compartment of the fridge. Although it is an excellent table cheese, it may also be used as an ingredient in many dishes. Numerous recipes are distinguished by its characteristic flavour and aroma, adding that “special touch” to starters, pasta and meat/ fish dishes, and even to desserts. Gorgonzola PDO is also ideal for creating creamy sauces. Gorgonzola PDO Dolce pairs well with soft red and white wines, whereas Gorgonzola PDO Piccante is best served with full-bodied vintage red wines.
The product is marketed in the following typologies: Gorgonzola PDO Dolce (large form); Gorgonzola PDO Piccante (small or medium form). It is sold year-round, whole, in large pieces, or in pre-packed slices. Its top side must bear the dairy’s ID number and the mark of the Protection Consortium and it must be packaged in embossed aluminium paper bearing the name and product logo on all of its surfaces.
During the ripening process, Gorgonzola PDO is injected with air in order to stimulate the development of the distinctive blue-green veins.