Gorgonzola, crafted in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, is a blue cheese derived from cow's milk. The unique marbling of blue to blue-green hues is achieved through the introduction of the Penicillium roqueforti fungus into the milk during the initial stages of cheese production.
Gorgonzola cheese is crafted by combining pasteurized cow's milk with penicillium roqueforti cultures, enzymes, rennet, and salt. The milk curdles quickly, and after 20 minutes, the curds are delicately cut and transferred into molds. The wheels are turned, rested, and salted, initially weighing about 40 pounds but eventually reducing to approximately 26 pounds during aging.
The salted wheels spend 3 to 7 days in a warm room before moving to a colder environment with high humidity. Thin skewers puncture each wheel, facilitating oxygen circulation for the development of characteristic blue veins. A saltwater solution is applied, forming the rind. The cheese undergoes aging for 2 to 6 months, with a shorter duration producing a mild, creamy version and a longer aging process yielding a more intense, crumbly texture.
Gorgonzola possesses a soft and crumbly consistency, accompanied by a taste spectrum ranging from buttery and creamy to nutty and sharp, determined by its aging duration. Its hues span from white to a light yellow, adorned with marbling of distinctive blue to blue-green molds. Notably, the absence of heating in milk processing and the omission of cheese pressing allow gorgonzola to maintain a high moisture content.
Gorgonzola is often deemed a cheese suitable for dessert, frequently gracing cheese platters served at the conclusion of a meal. Its versatility shines as it can be relished on crackers, spread over crostini, paired with fruits such as pears and figs, and combined with nuts like hazelnuts and walnuts, or incorporated into salads.
The culinary appeal of gorgonzola extends to cooking, where its high moisture content facilitates a smooth melt. This attribute makes it an excellent choice for crafting cheese sauces or effortlessly crumbled onto pasta, risotto, or as a pizza topping. A classic pairing involves grilled steak complemented by a delectable gorgonzola sauce.
While it's true that cheese should be enjoyed in moderation, Gorgonzola does offer some surprising health benefits:
Rich in Calcium: Gorgonzola is a good source of calcium, essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Probiotic Properties: The fermentation process introduces beneficial bacteria, potentially promoting gut health.
Protein Content: Gorgonzola provides a moderate amount of protein, supporting muscle health and overall bodily functions.
Gorgonzola blue cheese is not merely a culinary ingredient; it's a celebration of centuries-old craftsmanship and an exploration of flavors that dance on the palate. From its meticulously curated production process to its diverse culinary applications and unexpected health benefits, Gorgonzola continues to captivate and inspire food enthusiasts worldwide.
Find your next favorite Gorgonzola by checking out the producers below!
Società Agricola Latteria Soresina - https://www.latteriasoresina.it/en/gorgonzola-pdo-cheese/
Luigi Guffanti Formaggi - https://guffantiformaggi.com/en/cheese/gorgonzola-dop-piccante/
Caseificio Gelmini - https://www.caseificio-gelmini.it/