Strachitunt PDO is a creamy blue-veined cheese made from raw whole milk obtained from the Bruna cow breed.
The milk used for production must come from farms in the area of origin and at least 90% of the milk must come from Bruna cows. The link between the physical-chemical and microbiological qualities of the milk and the quality of the finished product is even more evident thanks to the possibility of processing the raw milk either at alpine shepherd huts or on the premises of local business. The production process is characterised by the use of the ancient “two paste” technique, in which the curd from the evening, known as “cold curd”, is left to drain in linen cloths for at least 12 hours before being added to the morning curd, known as “hot curd.” Once the curd mass is obtained it is put in a mold for about 24 hours. The forms are then turned upside down in the mold, after the mark with the STV symbol has been placed underneath. Processing based on the alternate layering of two curds, the evening one and the morning one, with different acidification and consistencies, prevents the curds from blending perfectly, in this way creating spaces in the cheese, which following piercing initiate the marbling process. The piercing is done with metal needles and is performed after about 30 days of ripening, allowing the natural mould to develop (marbling). The ripening period lasts for at least 75 days, although connoisseurs claim that the ideal amount of time is approximately 3 months, a period that allows the moulds responsible for the pungency of the cheese to fully develop.
Appearance and Flavour
Strachitunt PDO has a cylindrical shape, flat edges, a diameter varying from 25 to 28 cm and a height ranging from 10 to 18 cm. When mature it weighs between 4 and 6 kg. The rind is thin and coarse, at times covered with a yellowish or grey mould, depending on the level of ripening. When cut, the cheese is firm, marbled and softer under the rind, with a yellowish white colour and creamy veins. It has the typical smell of blue-veined cheeses, with initial slightly lactic notes that are then overpowered by a metallic flavour. The flavour is pungent and intense, varying between sweet and sharp, depending on the level of ripening, and fragrant and bitter with a pleasing vegetal aftertaste.
The production area of Strachitunt PDO is within the territory of the municipalities of Blello, Gerosa, Taleggio and Vedeseta in the Province of Bergamo, in the Lombardy region, at a minimum altitude of 700 metres above sea level.
Numerous historical documents demonstrate the ancient origins of Strachitunt PDO, with descriptions dating back as far as the year 1000. It is produced according to a traditional method that has been handed down from generation to generation. This procedure is faithfully reproduced by the companies that currently produce the cheese, which are actively engaged in preserving the precious heritage linked to it.
Strachitunt PDO should be kept in the fridge at a temperature of between 0 and 6°C, for no longer than 60 days of being packaged; it is advisable to wrap it in cling film or place it in an airtight container to prevent the flavour being contaminated by other foods in the fridge, and vice versa. This blue-veined stracchino is a very common ingredient in Bergamo cuisine, but it also goes well with other products, like in the dish Chianina Fillet with Strachitunt PDO, served with fresh or grilled polenta.
“Strachì tunt”, meaning “soft round cheese”, is an ancient dialect name used in the Brembana and Taleggio Valleys to distinguish this type of cheese from the more widespread “Strachì quader”. Ancestor of Gorgonzola, Strachitunt PDO was long neglected and forgotten, only to be rediscovered and re-launched on the market over the last decade.