A few weeks ago I was in the Federal Hill area of Providence visiting one of my favorite Italian specialty stores, Venda Ravioli. While there tasting all of the wonderful sampling I decided it was time for another episode of have you tried this cheese featuring one I had never heard of before, MONTASIO. It's a fun cheese to pronounce don't you think, MonTASioooo. Hmmm. ok, I'm very easily amused. On with the program.
Montasio, Italy's oldest table cheese is named after a mountain in the northeast corner of the country, It is a cow's milk cheese that is sold in three distinct ways based on the time it is allowed to age. It can be aged anywhere from 60 days to 10 months, these three phases of aging are referred to as fresh, middle and aged. I purchsed the aged Montasio. If I had purchsed the fresh Montasio it would have been soft and smooth, but because I opted for the aged it was drier and more granular, similar to a very strong parmesan. The fresh cheese is said to be sweet, and as it ages it taked on more of a bite, which I heartly agree with. This cheese for me at least was not one that I would cut up and serve with crackers, it was far too strong. I think that the fresh cheese could be served as a table cheese, but with the more aged cheese, I would most likely only serve it grated over pasta or as an accompaniment to a dish.