Robiola di Roccaverano, excellence of southern Piedmont, is called “The Queen” of goat’s cheese.
Compact with acidulous notes of fresh robiola, creamy and with an enveloping taste in its medium aging, gratable and spicy in its aged version, this cheese is one of the most versatile that can be found: alone, with regional combinations such as Cugnà and honey or used in recipes, Robiola di Roccaverano always knows how to conquer with its genuine flavors.
There are two breeds of goats allowed to produce milk for Roccaverano cheese: the Camosciata delle Alpi and the Roccaverano goat, a native breed saved from extinction thanks to the existence of Robiola di Roccaverano.
Grazing is compulsory during the possible months and this gives each Robiola di Roccaverano a unique flavor and taste, thanks to the processing of raw milk.
Robiola di Roccaverano is GMO free because the disciplinary rule strictly and unequivocally regulates what the animals eat even during the winter period: 80% of their diet must come from the territory of the PDO.
The production area is about 300 km2, 19 municipalities in all, straddling the provinces of Asti (ten) and Alessandria (nine), which means that the Robiola di Roccaverano is one of the smallest PDO in Italy, as well as being the only raw goat’s milk processed cheese.
Founded in 1996, the Consortium for the Protection of Robiola di Roccaverano controls and verifies all the phases of the production process and inspects all the operators involved in the supply chain: location, adequacy of the plants, conformity of the species and breed, feeding and breeding techniques, conformity during milk collection, quality of the raw materials, labelling, quality conformity and origin of the fresh product to be used for maturing.
In order for the product to be put on the market with the name of Robiola di Roccaverano DOP, the Consorzio di Tutela stamp must be applied underneath the package, at the base of which is the identification code of the producer and the progressive number of the mark:
THE PRODUCTION FEAUTURES OF THE ROBIOLA DI ROCCAVERANO
It is produced with whole raw milk of Roccaverano goat or chamois goat. The flocks must be grazing from March to November and at least 80% of their forage must come from these hills.
The coagulation takes place by adding rennet not before the acidification process has begun. The curd is transferred into perforated moulds that give Robiola its cylindrical shape with flat, slightly edged faces.
The salting is carried out dry on both sides of the product.
The natural maturation is carried out in special rooms for at least three days. From the fourth day the sale is allowed and it is considered matured from the tenth day.
In the fresh version it has no rind, characterized by a milky white and soft, creamy, more or less compact, delicate flavor, slightly acidic yogurt, grass and hazelnut.
If aged it becomes more compact, it can be creamy under the rind and has a stronger flavor, in which you can feel the animal scents, but also the spicy nuances, with a long and enveloping flavor.
THE BEST PAIRINGS
If fresh, it is perfect with a dry white, like Roero Arneis or Gavi. If aged, instead, a good glass of Barbera d’Asti, Nizza or Ruché, but also a Moscato Passito.Excellent with a drizzle of honey, a compote of fruit, mustard and onion sauce, but also with a Piedmontese green sauce.
The robiola is very ductile in the kitchen: perfect with a Baraggia rice, for a creamy risotto of robiola and bacon, or with a good omelette or a savoury pie. It also goes well with chestnut polenta.
Pliny the Elder will also talk about Robiola and later, in 1400, Pantaleone da Confienza, who exalted the unique qualities of freshness in his Summa Latticinorum.