Cheese: Gorgonzola

From ancient times, the town of Gorgonzola was a stop for herds on their summer and fall treks from the valleys of Lombardy to the alpine pastures and back. Local farmers had always made cheese there, aging it on wooden slats. At one point, a cheesemaker discovered the properties of Penicillium mold and thereafter the cheese were encouraged to go blue.

Gorgonzola features a firm, moist, buttery consistency and a flavor that is both sharp and sweet, giving it an admirable balance. Regular aged Gorgonzola is now generally known as Gorgonzola Piccante; it was formerly known as Gorgonzola Naturale of Stagionato (aged). There is another younger, milder version called Gorgonzola Dolce (sweet) which is creamier, more buttery, less moldy, and more spreadable; it contains a lot of moisture and is better suited for salad dressing or cooking rather than as a table cheese. The most famous producer, Luigi Guffanti sells some “super aged” Gorgonzola, 200 days old – that can be pretty radical.

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