Asiago Cheese POD
Asiago DOP is a popular product of the Veneto region and is the most consumed cheese in its production area. Called the "Asiago Plateau" or the "Seven Towns Plateau", located between the Po Valley and the Trentino highlands. This swath has been producing Asiago cheese since about 1000 AD. Pasture grazing sheep provided the rich natural milk. Around 1500, along with more modernization of farming techniques, the sheep gave way to cattle.
During the era of Venetian rule, Asiago hosted an important exhibition of wool and cheese. In the same period, the cow's milk replaced the sheep's milk, and the cheese's primary production technique was developed, that is still followed in small and medium dairy farms scattered in this area. Those same pastures used in the Middle Ages still provide grasses and herbs that the cows graze, and which in turn give the milk (and hence the cheese) it's flavor.
The type of Asiago that best reflects the most scrupulous tradition of altopianesi cheesemakers is certainly the aged variety, which are set aside and cut only after many months. Asiago DOP is a semi-cooked cheese made with cow's milk that can be "pressed" Asiago (fresh) or aged Asiago .
The fresh version of Asiago, sweet and delicate, is made with whole milk, while the seasoned (aged) Asiago, with a stronger taste and variations of added flavor elements, is obtained from a mix of whole and skimmed milk, which is aged from 3 to 12 months .
Asiago DOP cheese has a higher protein content than an equal amount of meat, and varies from an average of 24% for the fresh Asiago, and 28% for the aged Asiago. Like any genuine cheese, Asiago contains good levels of Vitamins A, B, B2, and PP. The minerals (calcium and phosphorus) in the milk used to produce Asiago, are also largely retained in the finished product.
For Asiago to be authentic and bear the DOP label, it must be produced within the designated zone of the Altopiano di Asiago, or that Asiago Plateau.
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