Type of Cheese: Low-fat, semi-cooked, semi-hard cheese. The “young” version is ready for consumption 3 months after production, while the “aged” version requires 6 months of aging.
Production period: From September 10 to June 30.
Product description: Table cheese, natural fermentation or induced with added, natural starters.
Ingredients: Raw cow’s milk, partially skimmed, natural milk enzymes, rennet, salt.
Physical description: Shape – cylindrical, slightly convex or flat with flat sides or slightly tapered at the edge. Rind – irregular, pliable, grey-brown or dark ochre in color. Paste – compact, small to medium holes, white or light straw in color.
Weight: Wheels 18 to 20 kg.
How to store: In a temperature controlled room, max 50/53°F.
Soft, low in fat, yet full of flavor, Spressa is an assertive cheese with a slightly bitter note. Depending on how long it has been aged, the cheese can be either sweet or spicy. When young, the cheese is best served melted over hot polenta. Once the cheese has had time to age, it is perfect paired with honey and mountain herbs. Soft, slightly sweet white wines are also a nice compliment.
Up until a century ago, Spressa Dop delle Valli Giudicarie – one of the most sought after cheeses from Trentino – was made exclusively in mountain pastures using skim milk.
The wheels of cheese were placed to age on shelves under the hearth and moistened with linen oil from time to time.
Spressa is a very low-fat cheese, made from the milk left over after having skimmed off the cream to make butter.
Today, just as in the past, Spressa (named for the process of pressing the cheese) is made by hand according to the ancient tradition passed down from generation to generation.
The fresh, aromatic milk comes, for the most part, from heritage Rendena breed cows, an added guarantee of the quality and authenticity. The cheese is made following a series of carefully controlled steps, from the diet of the cows to the markings on the cheese wheels.
The heart of the production area is the Val Rendena, a lush green valley nestled between the Brenta range of the Dolomites and the granite peaks of the Adamello-Presanella mountains. Every year, the Caseificio Sociale Pinzolo-Fiavé (via alla Pineta 5, Giustino, tel. +39 0465501116) produces around 15,000 wheels; available for purchase at the cheesemakers’ well-stocked store.
Spressa has an irregular ochre-colored rind with a compact and pliable consistency with small to medium holes. This cheese can be eaten on its own or paired with other products from Trentino.
Silvia Ugolotti – Photos by Marzia GandiniItalian regional products, Spressa Delle Giudicarie, traditional italian cheeses, Trentino