Piave PDO is a cooked hard cheese obtained through the processing of cow’s milk that is at least 80% from the Bruna Italiana,
Pezzata Rossa Italiana and Frisona Italiana breeds, which are reared exclusively in the production area.
It is produced in the typologies: Fresco (fresh), Mezzano (medium), Vecchio (aged), Vecchio Selezione Oro and Vecchio Riserva.
At least 70% of the forage and 50% of the dry substances that the cows are fed must come from the production area.
Milk and whey serum, which are produced from raw milk or the whey obtained during processing, are added to the milk.
It is then curdled, with the addition of rennet, after which the curd is cooked and put in molds for shaping.
The form is pressed with the use of hydraulic pumps for about 40 minutes, purging the whey and making the cheese more compact.
The cheese is then wrapped in cloths and placed on special frames, where they are left for 12 hours. After salting, which takes place in brine,
the cheeses are stored in rooms with controlled temperature and humidity for between 20 days and 18 months, depending on the type of cheese.
Apparence and flavour
Piave PDO has a cylindrical shape; the rind is soft and light in colour for the Fresh cheese, while it becomes progressively harder and darker with ageing.
The cheese is uniform and free from eyes, white in colour for the fresh type and straw yellow for the mature cheese; it has a grainy and crumbly texture, with a characteristic layering in more mature cheeses.
It has a lactic flavour, sweet in the fresh cheese, and becomes more sapid and intense with ripening, as well as slightly piquant.
Piave PDO should be stored in a cool dry place, and if sliced it is best kept in the least cold compartment of the fridge until consumption.
The Mezzano cheese is excellent when diced or sliced in dishes such as soufflé; the Fresh cheese is indicated for melting and is ideal for making pancakes or leek soup;
Piave PDO Vecchio is also perfect in savoury flans or vegetable risottos. A traditional Belluno dish is formai frit, which consists of fried cheese with polenta and kraut.
The product is marketed as Piave PDO, in the following typologies: Fresco (ripened for 20-60 days);
Mezzano (ripened for 61-180 days); Vecchio (ripened for over 80 days); Vecchio Selezione Oro (ripened for over 12 months);
Vecchio Riserva (ripened for over 18 months). It can be sold whole or sliced, in pieces of 300 g in modified atmosphere packaging, and vacuum-packed in 500 and 1000 g.
The determining factors that give Piave PDO its distinctive organoleptic characteristics, are the high quality of the milk, together with the contemporaneous use of milk and whey serum reproduced naturally at the dairy.
Dairy production in the Province of Belluno boasts ancient origins.
The development of dairy farming took place at the same time as the decline of the Most Serenissima Republic of Venice,
when the local economy needed a valid alternative to the exploitation of natural forest resources.
With the beginning of the industrial era, in the second half of the XIX century, the crisis caused by emigration and the
degradation of the mountain areas led to the establishment of the first social milk cooperatives, known as turnarie, which aimed to reduce production costs.
The production area of Piave PDO is within the entire territory of the Province of Belluno, in the Veneto region.