Quartirolo Lombardo PDO is a soft table cheese made from whole or semi-skimmed cow’s milk obtained from cattle bred exclusively in the production area.
If ripered for more than 30 days the product is maeketed as Maturo (mature).
Milk from at least two consecutive milkings is used. The milk from the second milking onwards can either be whole or semi-skimmed.
The milk is curdled with calf rennet within 25 minutes, with the possible addition of milk whey obtained from preceding processes within the dairy.
The curdle is broken twice before being placed inside the molds and simmered at 26-28°C for 4 to 24 hours, with a decreasing temperature.
The forms are dry salted or salted in brine and then left to ripen. The ripening process lasts between 5 and 30 days for Quartirolo Lombardo PDO soft cheese, while it takes more than 30 days for the Mature cheese.
The rind of the cheese cannot be treated in any way.
Apparence and flavour
Quartirolo Lombardo PDO has a parallelepiped quadrangular shape with flat edges, a straight bottom and a weight of between 1.5 and 3.5 kg.
The rind is soft, thin and pinkish-white in colour for the fresh cheese, and reddish grey-green for the mature one.
The cheese has a uniform and firm structure, slightly lumpy and crumbly, with the possibility of detachment. The cheese tends to become more firm and meltable with age.
The taste is characteristic, slightly acidulous-aromatic in the fresh cheese, and more fragrant in the mature variety.
Quartirolo Lombardo PDO is best kept wrapped in a slightly damp dishcloth or aluminum foil.
It is typically eaten with a meal, served as a main course or at the end of a meal, and at room temperature.
It is delicious when served with extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with a bit of pepper, and goes well with nuts, apples, grapes and honey.
It is also a valued ingredient in the preparation of many recipes, such as starters, salads and desserts, as well as in delicacies such as “Quartirolo Lombardo PDO mousse with truffle and honey sauce” or “Lombarda quiche”.
It is usually paired with Lombardy wines that are not excessively aged.
The product is marketed as Quartirolo Lombardo PDO (ripened for 5 to 30 days) and Quartirolo Lombardo PDO Maturo (ripened for more than 30 days). It is sold year-round in whole forms, pieces, portioned and pre-packed.
Throughout the ripening process, the Quartirolo Lombardo PDO forms are submitted to frequent turning and sponging with water and salt solutions.
The origins of Quartirolo Lombardo PDO date back to the X century, when this cheese was known as “stracchino quadro”,
and are linked to the Lombard herdsmen’s ancient customs of taking the animals to the mountains for the summer months, relocating them to the valley just before autumn,
where the climate was milder and the pastures were still green; in this way, the animals fed on fresh forage for a longer period of time.
The origin of the name “quartirolo” is in fact given to this transhumance; “quartirola” is the name used for the last fresh grasses before winter and the most fragrant of the year.
The production area of Quartirolo Lombardo PDO is within the entire territory of the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Milan, Monza e Brianza, Pavia and Varese, in the Lombardy region.