Milk: Cow, Pasteurized
Country: Italy, Treviso
Accompaniment: Prosecco to bold reds
Antonio Carpenedo and his wife were driving in the mountains, it was a nice day so they had wound down the windows of the car (gives you a time slot for this - some kids that come into our store have never seen a handle on the door that opens the window). They got stuck behind a hay card and on the summer breeze (the Vento d'Estate), the smell of the hay came into the car. Antonio said to his wife:"This gives me a great idea". "I made these new cheeses and was wondering how I was going to age them." "Now I know how." "I have these oak barrels in the dairy, that I am going to fill with that type of hay and then pack the cheeses in." So that is what he has been doing for the last 10 years or so. Initially we received the cheeses really covered in the hay. Great for aromas in the store, not so good for general tidiness, because the hay was going everywhere. Feedback to Antonio: "Love the cheese man, but the hay ..... can you keep that in Italy?" Swing of the pendulum: we then received the cheese without any hay. Cheese mongers back to Antonio: "Antonio, when we said what we said about the hay, we really meant, can you keep most of the hay in Italy." So, now we receive the cheese with enough hay to make it interesting but not so much as to make a mess.
The resulting cheese is a fine example of a mountain cheese that is given time to age and develop a nice sharpness. When you first taste the cheese, especially close to the rind, you will notice a certain sweetness. I have a sneaky suspicion that the King of Ubriaco (my nick-name for Antonio) could not help himself and had to dunk the cheese in some Prosecco probably to help the adherence of the hay. Then you get all the herbs, flowers and grasses whose aroma envelopes the cheese but certainly also imparts flavors. The cheese gives you milky notes, with some salinity and nuttiness and ends slightly sour with a nice bite. We love this cheese with some aged salami, fresh fruit and, of course, a glass of Prosecco (maybe even two).