Origins and production area
When in September, after the long period of pasture, the cows started to crowd the stables at the bottom of the valley again, the Lombard herdsmen used to let them graze for a while the little grass born after the third summer cut: the quartirola grass. This was the last ration of fresh fodder before winter, and the milk produced was used for the production of a soft cheese that took the name of quartirolo. Today Quartirolo is no longer a seasonal product and the grass used comes from any type of cut.
The production area also extended to a large part of Lombardy and in particular to the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lodi, Milan, Pavia, Varese.
The Protected Designation of Origin was recognized on June 12, 1996.
Quartirolo Lombardo DOP (www.quartirolo.com)
Characteristics and production phases
In modern dairies, partially skimmed or whole milk is generally pasteurized and selected lactic ferments are used. Salting is done dry or in brine.
Externally the Quartirolo has the square shape typical of the whole family of stracchini. Compared to Taleggio, which is very similar in terms of characteristics and technology, it is however leaner and less seasoned. The weight of the shapes varies from one kilo to three and a half kilos. The rind, thin and soft, is pinkish-white in younger cheeses and becomes more consistent and reddish gray-green in more mature ones. The delicate and fragrant flavor is slightly acidic if it is consumed from the first days of production, when it is still in the first fermentation stage. After two months of aging it becomes stronger and typically aromatic.
The consistency of the pasta is also different. In young cheeses it has a friable consistency and a lumpy structure, while in the highly seasoned forms it becomes more compact, soft and fusible in the mouth.
Gastronomy and recommended wines
It is a typical table cheese to be enjoyed alone or as a complement to salads and cold dishes.
Recommended wines for liping: for fresh Quartirolo (Lugana and Botticino) and for the seasoned type (Barletta).
Production specification - Quartirolo Lombardo DOP
The Quartirolo lombardo denomination of origin is recognized for cheese produced in the geographical area referred to in art. 2 and having the requirements set out in articles 3 and 4.
The area of origin of the milk, of transformation and processing of Lombard Quartirolo cheese includes the administrative territory of the provinces of. Brescia, Bergamo, Como, Cremona, Milan, Pavia and Varese.
Lombard Quartirolo is a soft table cheese made with cow's milk deriving from at least two milkings, of which the one or the ones following the first can supply whole or partially skim milk, coming from cows raised exclusively in the production area referred to in art. 2, obtained in compliance with the technological process as it meets the following production standard:
A) Coagulation is carried out with calf rennet at a temperature between 35 and 40 ° C in order to obtain coagulation within 25 minutes; the addition of lacto-grafting deriving from previous processes is permitted, carried out exclusively in the same dairy where the milk is processed. The first break of the curd is followed by a more or less long rest in relation to the evolution of the acidity of the bleeding whey, then there is a second break from which the dairy lumps are roughly the size of a hazelnut. After breaking the curd mixed with whey is placed in special forms where, during the stewing at 6-8 ° C, it is structured with cheese, the stewing is prolonged from a minimum of 4 hours to a maximum of 24 hours at decreasing temperature in relation to the characteristics of acidification and drying of the pasta. The salting is carried out dry, or in brine, with variable duration in relation to the weight, in rooms with a temperature from 10 to 14 ° C. Maturing takes place in suitable cells, and at a temperature of 2-8 ° C and a relative humidity of 85-90%; the maturation period lasts from five to thirty days for the soft paste type, after thirty days the product is marketed as mature Lombard Quartirolo. No crust treatment is allowed.
B) Shape: quadrangular parallelepiped with flat faces and straight sides.
C) Dimensions: side of the faces from 18 to 22 centimeters, height of the sides from 4 to 8 centimeters with slight variations more or less in both characteristics in relation to the technical production conditions.
D) Variable weight from 1.5 kg to 3.5 kg.
E) Thin and soft rind, pinkish white in the first seasoned cheeses and reddish gray-green in the more mature ones.
F) Pasta: united structure, slightly lumpy possibly with small detachments and anfractuosity, friable (without yellowish crown under the rind) which becomes more compact, soft and fusible with the progress of seasoning. White to straw white color which can become more intense for mature cheese.
G) Taste: characteristic, slightly acidic-aromatic in the cheese in the first seasoning and more aromatic in the mature one.
H) Fat on dry matter: not less than 30%; for the product obtained with partially skimmed milk.
The Quartirolo Lombard denomination of origin cheese must bear a specific mark affixed upon its release for consumption, in which the geographical origin and the details of the decree with which the denomination was recognized are identified, to guarantee compliance with the specific regulatory requirements. .