A heavy, creamy texture with an irresistable and long-lasting flavour.
This cheese takes its name from the village
of Gorgonzola, which lies north of Milan in Northern Italy. The exact
birthdate of Gorgonzola is not known, there are estimates ranging from
the ninth century through to the twelfth century. Some even believe that
the Romans produced a cheese similar to Gorgonzola. Since time immemorial,
the cattle herds have stopped off at Gorgonzola on their way back from
the mountains, before separating out to return to their respective villages
in the Po valley for the winter. According to one popular story, Gorgonzola
was discovered by an innkeeper from Lombardy, who dished up a mouldy stracchino
cheese to some passing customers. Far from protesting, they highly praised
such strange taste, thus decreeing the success of the first mould-inoculated
For centuries the cheese was known as 'green
stracchino' but on 30 October 1955 the name Gorgonzola was given. In 1970
the Association for the Protection of Gorgonzola took over control of
all aspects of the production and marketing of the cheese - legally there
are only two regions in Italy that are permitted to manufacture Gorgonzola
cheese, and only certain provinces within these regions. In Piedmont there
are the provinces of Novara, Vercelli, Cuneo and Casale Monferrato, and
in Lombardy there are the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona,
Milan and Pavia. Only milk from the dairy farms of these areas may be
used to produce Gorgonzola and these cheeses are able to display their
Although the basic principles used to
produce most cheeses are the same, Gorgonzola does use some more unusual
methods. The curds are laid in layers in moulds lined with fine canvas.
The bottom, the sides and the top are coated with the warm curds from
the morning's milking. The cold curds of the evening's milking are then
poured into the middle. The cheeses are taken out of the moulds but kept
in the canvas, and left upside-down to drain for 24 hours. The canvas
is then removed and they are put back into the moulds, salted and turned
over several times during the following week. After the first maturation
which takes less then 2 months, holes are made in the cheese to allow
the air to penetrate thus causing the green mould to form. The second
phase of maturation lasts another few weeks.
The type of Gorgonzola we prefer to sell
at the Teddington Cheese is Gorgonzola Dolce. It is made from full fat
unpasteurised milk and the paste is white or pale straw coloured, soft
and has green veining. The rind is a natural grey colour with the brand
name stamped on in red. The taste is sweet, and just a touch piquant.
Each cheese weights 6 to 12kg, measures 25 to 30cm in diameter and is
16 to 20cm tall and has a fat content of 48%. Gorgonzola Piccante is firmer
and fuller flavoured but does not have the spreading quality of the Gorgonzola
Gorgonzola can be enjoyed with crusty
bread, fresh or toasted, or on top of a piping- hot slice of polenta.
This cheese has found favour with chefs and is now used in hundreds of
ways in the kitchen. A full bodied and robust red wine is a good accompaniment,
but Gorgonzola Dolce can also be enjoyed with a sweeter white or even
a rosť wine.