Valle d’Aosta Fromadzo PDO is a semi-hard cheese produced with cow’s milk, with the possibility of a minimum percentage of goat’s milk. Based on the fat content, the cheese is distinguished as Magro (low fat) and Semigrasso (medium fat).
The milk must come from at least two milkings. For the Medium Fat cheese the first milking must rest for 24 hours and the second for 12 hours;
for the Low Fat cheese, the resting times are 36 and 24 hours respectively and a larger quantity of cream is removed.
Curdling is achieved with the use of natural rennet at a temperature of 34-36°C, taking advantage of the spontaneous formation of micro-flora;
it is also possible to add indigenous natural lactic bacteria. The mass obtained from breaking the curd is placed in molds called fuscelle,
lightly pressed and immediately rotated, for a total of 3-4 times within 24 hours. The forms are either dry salted or salted in brine.
Dry salting takes place every other day, so that the salt gradually disperses over a total period of 20-30 days.
The form must then be cleaned with a cloth soaked in salt water solution.
Ripening takes place in specific rooms with a temperature of 8-14°C and relative humidity of no less than 60%, varying from a minimum of 60 days up to a maximum of 8-10 months.
Apparence and flavour
Vallée d’Aoste Fromadzo PDO has a cylindrical shape with flat or almost flat surfaces, and a straight or slightly curved edge; the weight varies from 3 to 4 kg.
The rind has a straw yellow colour, which tends toward grey with a pinkish tinge when more mature.
The cheese has a compact consistency with medium-sized eyes; the fresh cheese is white in colour, whereas the mature cheese is straw yellow.
The flavour is fragrant and semi-sweet in the fresh cheese, while it is more pronounced and slightly salty with a hint of spiciness in the mature one.
Vallée d’Aoste Fromadzo PDO should be conserved in a cool damp place. The portioned product, however, can be conserved in the fridge for a period of no more than 8-10 days.
The fresh cheese lends itself well as ingredient for the preparation of numerous typical Valdostana dishes, such as rice-based first courses or meat-based second courses.
It is traditionally served with polenta and pan-fried vegetables. The mature version is ideal as a table cheese and the more mature it is, the better it is for grating.
It should be paired with local PDO wines from Aosta, but it also goes very well with Chianti PDO.
The product is marketed as Vallée d’Aoste Fromadzo PDO Magro (low fat) and Semigrasso (medium fat). It is sold year-round, whole or in large vacuum-packed pieces.
The cows from which the milk used to make Vallée d’Aoste Fromadzo PDO cheese is obtained,
are mainly reared in the highlands with traditional methods based on the use of local resources, such as spontaneous essences,
which give the cheese its distinctive aroma of mountain herbs.
The origins of Vallée d’Aoste Fromadzo PDO date back to the XV century, as confirmed by a wall fresco from 1480 depicting an antique cheese workshop,
found in the Castle of Issogne, and the Summa lacticinorum by Pantaleone da Confienza. Other references can be found in historical documents from the XVII century.
Due to its low-fat characteristics, for local populations this product represented a valid substitution to the more diffused fontina cheese,
as it could be kept for longer periods and constituted a protein reserve, which was vital when other dietary elements were in short supply.
The production area of Vallée d’Aoste Fromadzo PDO is within the entire territory of the Valle d’Aosta region.