Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cheese of the Week: Raschera

I had never heard of the Piedmonte DOP cheese Raschera before this week, and it made me realize that I really don't know which DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses are out there, so I decided to take a look. I found this list. It's good to see some cheeses that I'm familiar with (and like), as well as to find the Marche represented with the Caciotta d'Urbino cheese (hmmm...future "cheese of the week" idea? perhaps!). The title of DOP is important for cheeses as it protects their regional origins and their reputation. The DOP listing should also make it harder to confuse Parmigiano-Reggiano with a green cylindrical box.

I don't normally pick cheeses like Raschera from the dozens of Italian cheeses that await me in cheese stores here. Raschera has a Taleggio or Brie kind of consistency, but not quite as dense, not quite as creamy, and quite a bit milder. It's a cheese that I like, in general, but if I have to choose between Raschera and a nice aged Pecorino, I'll go for the Pecorino.

That being said, Raschera is a reasonably good cheese. Like I mentioned, it's mild, semi-soft, and rather light. It's got a creamy consistency--it's not spreadable at all, but there's definitely a smoothness to this cheese--and based on what I've read, the flavor of the cheese changes based on the season. Winter cheeses are stronger and more flavorful, while summer and spring cheeses tend to be sweeter.

Anyway, I liked the consistency and softness of Raschera, even if I wish that I had tried a version whose flavor was a bit stronger. If you're wondering how else Raschera can be used, this Raschera site suggests adding it to risotto and salad. Hopefully at some point they'll update their recipes page, though.

Enjoy Raschera, however you decide to eat it! It's a decent cheese, and it definitely strays from my Pecorino posts as of late--plus, it gets me excited about trying more DOP cheese from the above list.

Oh, while I'm still talking about cheese--I found this blog while searching for some info on Raschera. Neat blog, even if it calls Raschera a "boring" cheese!

Have a good weekend!



At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great photo. bring me some cheese!

At 11:38 AM, Blogger rowena said...

Oh yes, a pecorino or a bit stonger-flavored cheese any day. Bring it on! The thing with so called "boring" cheese is that you can always dress'em up a bit with prosciutto or bresaola (eh, not for you) or serve it on some really tasty crackers like cracked black pepper. It'll all taste good anyway. I mean, look how popular Philadelphia cream cheese is, given its outright blandness!

Great post Jackie!


Post a Comment

<< Home