Trentingrana, the secrets of production and the new 30 months – Italian Cuisine

It is said that it all began when in 1927 a Trentino cheesemaker went to Emilia Romagna to produce cheese and, once he returned home, began to create something very similar. Today Trentingrana is one of the 4 DOP of Trentino, together with Puzzone di Moena, Primiero and Spressa.

It all begins with the care of livestock and the territory, in a circular philosophy in the name of sustainability. Respect for livestock, first of all, which passes through the quality of life and nutrition, strictly GMO-free and without instilates. The landscape is thus protected by the presence of farmers who provide for the mowing of the meadows and the care of the high mountain pastures with important benefits for tourism and the protection of biodiversity. Trentingrana was born here.

Trentingrana processing: how it was born

The moment of pinning
(Photo: C. Carolei)

The milk arrives in the dairies every evening, on time to prepare for the night and bring out the cream. In the morning, early in the morning, the cream is removed and the milk is ready to be processed in the large copper boilers.

The same procedure, the same gestures, the same care are repeated every day, every day. Once in the boilers, the whey from the day before is added to the milk, rich in bacteria that are essential to start the transformation of milk into cheese. The temperature is brought to around 37 degrees and with the thorn, a specific tool of the trade, the curd is broken. Two twin shapes are extracted from each boiler, with steady and safe movements within linen cloths. The forms are placed for a day in plastic molds (in this phase the forms are turned over two or three times) and then in metal molds for two or three days. These are precisely what give the typical rounded shape to Trentingrana!

After two or three days we move on to the brine: here the forms remain to soak for 22-23 days in a solution of water and salt. Because the ingredients of Trentingrana are only three: mountain milk, rennet and salt.

Strange to say, the crucial step in the birth of cheese is the one in which the wheels are left to rest. What is called seasoning it is a crucial step because it defines the organoleptic characteristics which are then perceived by those who taste the cheese. The aromas and flavors are defined precisely in this passage, which normally lasts 22-23 months for Trentingrana.

The novelty, in such a particular and complex year, is the 30-month Trentingrana. A niche product, which will see the birth of only 2,500 wheels this year out of a total of 10 thousand given to the associated consortia, but which in the next few years may reach up to 5,000.

But what happens in those 8 extra months of seasoning? An even more intense bouquet of aromas and flavors, a rich and complex taste that remains balanced. Excellent in the kitchen to combine with a fish or meat carpaccio, in combination with honey or with a few drops of balsamic vinegar, cooked as a waffle in the oven to accompany first courses such as risotto and barley.

The forms of Trentingrana in brine
(Photo: C. Carolei)

The rift

It cannot be cut or opened: the wheel, once the seasoning is complete, "breaks". A process that is done strictly by hand with the typical small knives that are used to cut the grain. But beware, it's not for everyone. To do this, you need to know Trentingrana very well, to know how to "listen" to the movements and cracks that are created as the knives act inside it, until the shape opens and releases its first scents.

The first form of Trentingrana 30 months was split by the expert beater Franco Frattarsi, a Trentingrana consultant for over 40 years, at the end of a long manufacturing process born in the mountains, and which brings flavors, aromas and values ​​to the mountains.

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