- Food & Wine
Curiosities and characteristics of cheeses for you to taste in Lodi and surrounding area
A heritage of cuisine for you to taste: here is a practical guide to discovering typical cheeses to try in Lodi.
Lodi, the home of great cheeses
The cuisine of the Lodi area is marked by the wise use of typical produce of the area, which serve as the main ingredients in exquisite recipes. Among these, a leading role is given to Its Majesty, the cheese. The culinary tradition of Lodi and the surrounding area, in fact, revolves around three captivating
names, each of which has its own story to tell: Granone, Mascarpone and Pannerone.
The three typical cheeses in Lodi cuisine, known domestically and internationally, have an unmistakeable taste and form an integral part of many dishes well-known and appreciated throughout the world. The Lodi area is, in fact, very fertile and devoted to agriculture and farming – which is why, there is no doubt, it provides major satisfaction to dairy connoisseurs. Together, let’s discover the area’s top products.
The typical Grana of the Lodi area and Raspadüra
Among the most famous and flavour-rich specialities in the Lodi tradition we must mention a cooked hard cheese which takes a long time to mature and which belongs to the category of semi-fat cheeses, produced until the 1970s. We are talking about Grana Lodigiano (or Lodi Granone) the ancestor of all Grana cheeses, which to this day serves as the inspiration for ‘Granone’-type hard cheese. The latter is used to obtain the celebrated Raspadüra, namely subtle, straw-like sheets (Italian raspatura) of white-coloured cheese produced by scraping the young forms of cheese. It is its paste, which is compact and granule-free, which facilitates it flaking. It would also seem that this practice emerged as a way to present (and better taste) forms of Grana which had not come out quite so well.
Mascarpone: a cheese full of sweetness
Mascarpone takes its name from the Lodi dialect word mascherpa, which means ‘cream of milk’.
This cheese is derived from processing and clotting fresh cream, heated up to 90° C in a bain-marie, adding citric and acetic acid. This procedure allows you to obtain a soft, pure white/white-yellow coloured cream, to be combined with sugar, egg, coffee, liquor and biscuits. Mascarpone is, therefore, ideal for preparing desserts.
Pannerone or Panerone: natural goodness
A soft cheese which is also a flagship ‘slow food’, unique and natural because it is produced with whole, non-pasteurised and rennet milk. Its preparation does not involve adding salt, enzymes or mould, but rather takes place by stewing, which prompts alcoholic fermentation. This is the Pannerone, an inebriating cheese with a buttery flavour and a slightly bitter aftertaste. To appreciate it best, we advise you to consume it fresh, at the end of a meal, or along with mustard, honey and cooked pears. Its name is derived from the Lombardy word ‘panera’ which means ‘cream’ and its white paste feels very soft to the palate.
Another cheese to try in Lodi: Gorgonzola
Talking of Lodi cheeses, we cannot omit to mention Gorgonzola. This noted and appreciated cheese is also tied to a love-story: it is told, in fact, that it is the fruit of a ‘mistake’ on the part of a cheesemaker in love who left work to join his beloved. The next day, when mixing the new curd with that of the day before, he obtained gorgonzola. In any case, the beneficial properties of this cheese have been noted since the end of the Middle Ages, when it was used to treat gastro-intestinal complaints. In fact, the purest milk is used to produce gorgonzola in order to allow its characteristic mould to develop. Its flavour, which is very pleasing to the palate, makes it one of the most appreciated cheeses in Italy and it is widely exported abroad.
Following this panoramic overview of the dairy delights of Lodi, discover other dishes typical for this area and which likewise shouldn’t be missing from your table – for a complete menu ranging from starters to desserts.