Italian flavors: Spressa delle Giudicarie Cheese
- WTI Magazine #166 Aug 19, 2023
Spressa delle Giudicarie DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) is one of the oldest cheeses of the Alps and one of the most recent to receive DOP status within Italy. Definitive approval was only obtained on 26 January 2004, when it was entered the Register of Protected Designations of Origin, which protects its quality within Italy and Europe.
Spressa delle Giudicarie used to be made in an artisanal way in farmhouses ('munt', or plural 'munc' in the local dialect), before transferring the cows to the summer pastures. It was essentially a “residual” product since the farmers and dairy farmers strove to obtain the greatest possible quantity of butter from the milk, as it fetched a good amount on the local market.
Whatever was left over was used to produce a low-fat and therefore poor cheese, which was exclusively eaten by the farmers’ families.
The name “spressa” is derived from the dialect term “spress”, i.e. the squeezed out clotted mass. The first historical references to it date back to very early times, such as the “Regola di Spinale e Manez” (the Rules of Spinale and Manez) from 1249.
Spressa delle Giudicarie DOP is no longer as incredibly low fat as it once was, because it wouldn’t be appreciated by modern consumers, but it is nevertheless a cheese with low fat content as it is made from milk that is semi skimmed through separation.
Spressa delle Giudicarie DOP is a semi-fat table cheese, the young version of which can be consumed three months after production and the mature version after six months.
It is made with raw cow’s milk from Rendena (which is local), Bruna, Grigio Alpina, Friesian and Pezzata Rossa breeds, predominantly fed hay. It is produced using raw milk and semi skimmed milk from cows milked twice a day, in the morning and the evening. It has a cylindrical shape with a diameter of 30-35 cm, it is 8-11 cm tall and weighs 7-10 kg.
The cheese is semi-hard, firm, elastic and straw-white coloured, with sparsely distributed small-medium wholes. Its taste is sweet, and the flavour increases with maturing.
The crust is elastic and grey-brown or ochre coloured.
It is matured in fresh, aerated places. The production period lasts from dal 10 September to 30 June.
The Local Area
The production area for the cheese Spressa delle Giudicarie DOP is located in the Valli Giudicarie, especially in Val Rendena and Val di Ledro, in Western Trentino. It is also partially produced within the Adamello-Brenta Natural Park.
By Consorzio Volontario per la Tutela del Formaggio DOP Spressa delle Giudicarie