Stracchino is a general term for a type of Lombardy cheese that is made from the milk of cows that had come down from their summer alpine pastures to be wintered on the plains. The milk of these “tired” cows (stracche in the Lombardy dialect) gives a distinctive flavor to the cheese (a direct result of the change of grazing). These quick-ripening cheeses were at one time made only in the winter, before the days of refrigeration. Many different types of cheeses fall under the Stracchino family. Gorgonzola, Taleggio and some Robiola cheeses are all Stracchino cheeses.
My favorite member of this group of cheeses is Stracchino-Crescenza. It is square-shaped, rindless, white and lusciously creamy with a melt-in-the-mouth texture and a sweet delicate flavor. It should be eaten as soon as possible, within a week that you buy it. It’s great in the morning on some toasted bread, or for lunch with some crusty bread, hearty olive oil, and ripe tomatoes. In Italy, it is served with Mostarda di Cremona, a sweet-spicy, chutney-like condiment from Cremona. Come in the store and get yours.
Johnny Z., Cheese Specialist
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