The Raschera Pdo is a semi-fat, raw, pressed cheese with a short or medium seasoning period; it is produced in the area of Mondovì. The texture is compact ad it has small and irregular cracks. The colour is white or ivory as it is produced with no preserving agents. It has a fine taste, the most seasoned cheeses are sapid and almost spicy.
The Raschera can be found both in rounded forms (with flat surfaces 30-40 cm in diameter, slightly convex sides about 6-9 cm high, weight varying from 5 to 9 kg) and squared (with flat surfaces varying in length between 28 and 40 cm, irregular sides 7 to 15 cm high and a weight of 6 to 10 kg), even if the second type is more diffused because in the past it was easier to transport. After production and seasoning in the “selle” (natural cellars with constant temperature and percentage of humidity the cheese become reddish due to the molds growth). In the past, during the summer, these cheeses were carried on the pastures of Mondovì for the selling. Currently 99% of these cheeses is realised in squared forms.
Cow’s milk, rarely mixed with goat’s or sheep’s milk, is heated at 29-30°C, adding liquid rennet in order to obtain the milk curd. One hour later, the milk curd is broken down with a paddle and stirred for five minutes. The curd, divided from the serum, is put into a hemp canvas and drained. At this point the process changes depending on the shape you want to realise. To obtain the rounded Raschera, the curd wrapped into the canvas, is disposed into cylindrical wooden molds on whose borders are put weights to make easier the leak of the serum. Cheeses are left into these molds one day, but forms are turned once an hour. The day after cheeses are salted on each sides. For the squared Raschera the curd is put into parallelepiped wooden molds, covered with axes and weights. Cheeses are left to drain at least four days and then salted. The seasoning must last at least 30 days if the forms are produced with pasteurised milk and at least 60 days if realised with raw milk.
The tradition of producing this mountain cheese throughout the Monregalese area means that it is called “a raschera” to indicate a product that comes from the mountains around Mondovi.
The Raschera took its name from the lake and the grazing located at the feet of the Monte Mongioie, Maritime Alps, where it has been produced since very ancient times.
In a lease contract, which dates at the end of the XIV century, found in the municipality archives of Pamparato (Cuneo), a lord of the place asked to be paid with “that good cheese produced by the shepherds who bring their cows in the Raschera grazings”. The pastures of Raschera extend for 620 hectares and today are included in the municipality of Magliano Alpi, which takes its name exactly from the Alps Brignola, Seirasso and Raschera, which in the past, belonged to the territories of Mondovì.
The tradition of producing this cheese throughout the Monregalese area means that it is called “a raschera” to say a product that comes from the mountains around Mondovì. To indicate instead a cheese from another valley is called “mountain tuma”.
In 1984, two years after the AOC recognition, the Raschera producers together with the Camera di Commercio, Industria, Artigianato and Agricoltura of Cuneo and the Comunità Montana delle Valli Monregalesi, founded the “Consorzio per la tutela del formaggio a Denominazione d’origine Raschera” (the consortium for the protection of the Raschera). Gianni Siccardi is the president, while Aldo Fraire is the director and the seat is located in Vicoforte.
The aim of the Consortium is to guarantee quality products to the consumers through the brands recognised by the law. These brands give guarantee of genuineness and craftsmanship to the cheeses which bear the labels of authentic Raschera.
The PDO indication has been recognised to the Raschera in 1996. The Raschera PDO can bear the additional wording “of mountain pasture”; the label is yellow and indicates that the cheese is produced over 900 metres high in the municipalities of Frabosa Soprana, Frabosa Sottana and Garessio. Regarding the Val Casotto, Magliano Alpi in the area which neighbours with Ormea, Montalto Mondovì, Ormea, Pamparato, Roburent and Roccaforte Mondovì, these cheeses are also recognised by Slow Food. The label Raschera PDO is green and indicates the Raschera cheeses produced and seasoned in the whole area of the Cuneo province.
The Raschera is very versatile. You can taste it with bread, but also with rice and vegetables. It is ideal for the fondue or to fill the vol-au-vent; it is ideal to eat with speck and bacon. The most seasoned forms can be paired with many wines produced in the Langhe such as Dolcetto or Barbera, Nebbiolo while the less seasoned ones can be tasted with Pinot Bianco del Collio.
As all the cheeses, the Raschera must be stored in a fresh place or in the less cold part of the fridge, wrapped in its original wrap, in tinfoil or put into a glass or plastic box.
- Sagra della Raschera e del Bruss: Frabosa Soprana (Cn), held in August
- Sagra del Raschera e dei Formaggi d’Alpeggio: Ormea (Cn), held in September