Munching on Montasio: Italy’s Mountain Cheese

Montasio is a cow’s milk cheese from the mountainous region of northeast Italy. This semi-hard cheese is rich, creamy, and delicious. Read on to learn why we think this cheese is worthy of inclusion on your next cheese platter. 

What is Montasio?

Montasio cheese is a creamy, semi-hard cheese found in the northeast regions of Veneto and Fruili Venezua Giulia, which abuts Slovenia. The Montasio mountains in this region are home to rich grasses and flowers on which the cows graze. This vegetation produces flavor-rich milk and by extension, highly flavorful cheese.

Image Credit: Flicker user luca.sartoniCC BY-SA 2.0 )

The color of montasio cheese is pale yellow to golden depending on how long the cheese has been aged. The texture of this cheese is semi-firm, but varieties that are aged for long periods of time will have a firmer texture. 

History of Montasio Cheese

Montasio cheese has existed since at least the 13th century when Benedectine monks produced this cheese at their monastery in the Julian Alps. Montasio can be aged for a variety of times. The youngest montasio cheeses are about 2 months in age, whereas the oldest and most mature montasios are aged for 10 months or more. 

Cooking with Montasio

We think montasio is best eaten out of hand to enjoy all the unique flavors and aromas in this delicious cheese, but you can cook with it if you’d like to add a unique flavor to everyday recipes. You can substitute it for cheddar in some recipes such as in our Vermont Mac and Cheese recipe or in our recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes.

Looking to add new and unique flavors to your next breakfast? Try swapping in montasio cheese of the cheddar in our Cheesy Egg and Bacon Breakfast Bake for a taste of Italy in every bite. 

When incorporating montasio to your next cheese board we recommend serving it with a bit of apricot jam, honey, or other sweet spread to complement the rich and nutty flavors of the cheese. 

Where Can I Buy Montasio Cheese?

Montasio can sometimes be difficult to source. Look for montasio cheese in your local specialty cheese shop or buy it online.

Feature Image: Flickr user artizone ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

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