October 15, 2010
I was invited to provide a cheese review for The Nibble, an
online specialty food magazine, to run in October. I profiled one of my
favorite fall cheeses: Piave Vecchio. Below is a summary of
Review Summary: Piave Vecchio (http://www.mandifoods.com/shop/search.aspx)
As the long summer days turn over to the cooler nights of
autumn, our food choices move away from the fresh cheeses and lighter dishes to
more of the hearty cheeses with roasts and casseroles. Fall is a great time to
enjoy Havartis, Goudas, Cheddars, Bries, and Camemberts. For me, Piave Vecchio
is one of the best of the fall cheeses. This hard Italian cheese offers a
fine, rich taste and golden color. Piave Vecchio, like most hard cheeses from Italy, is made with summer milk and aged around one year. Because of this aging process,
this cheese is enjoyed in Italian villages during the fall and winter seasons.
Piave Vecchio is made at a dairy cooperative, Lattebusche,
in the Piave River Valley of the mountainous Veneto Region in Northern Italy.
While the name Piave was registered in 1960, this cheese is a descendant of the
ancient Bellunese cheese making traditions. What makes this cheese unique is
that it is made from the cow's milk of 2 milkings. The evening milk's cream is
removed with the natural process of skimming. It is then mixed with the morning
milk, to stand on its own as a very distinctive cheese. There are traditionally
3 types of Piave based on its ripening time. Piave Fresco has about 2 months
aging, with a creamy taste. Piave Vecchio is aged around 1 year, giving it a
sweet taste, but with a sharp bite. Piave Oro del Tempo is aged over a year and
is the sharpest.
The dark yellow hue of this cheese shows the dense texture
and highlights its full flavor with sweet and nutty undertones. I use Piave to
grate over fried polenta and different soups, like Minestrone or Vegetable and
Bean. I also use it as an ingredient, by mixing it in with my southern grits
recipe or in a vegetable risotto. This cheese will always make a great addition
to a cheese plate. It pairs well with red zinfandels, chardonnays like Sonoma
Cutrer from the Russian River Valley in California, or any amber, nut brown or
IPA ales. My current favorites are Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA or August
Schell's Firebrick Amber lager.
Piave Vecchio is a gem often hidden by the long shadow of
its excellent and very famous cousin, Parmesan Reggiano. Piave Vecchio deserves
its own time in the spotlight. It tastes like a younger, sweeter Parmesan
Reggiano making it a perfect cheese to usher in the flavors of fall.
You can read the full review at http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cheese/cheese2/piave-vecchio.asp