Strachitunt PDO is a cheese made with whole raw cow’s milk cheese from two milkings by presamic acid coagulation, double raw curds, soft, fatty, blue, matured for at least 75 days.
Strachítunt is cylindrical in shape and has flat tops and bottoms, a diameter of 25-28 cm, a straight or slightly convex side 15-18 cm high and a weight of 4-6 kg. The rind is yellowish or reddish tending towards grey, occasionally mould-ripened, wrinkled and dry with traces of perforation. The inner body is straw-yellow and may have bluish-green marbling and creamy streaks caused by proteolysis. It is soft and moist and may have small eyes. The flavour is tangy with pungent notes that vary in intensity according to how long the cheese is matured (the mould multiplies and tends to give off a slight bitter aroma). With brief maturing, mildness predominates and creates a very delicate flavour. On the nose the cheese has notes of warm milk, butter and mushrooms. Nose and palate are both very long.
Cheese produced with whole raw cow’s milk from two milkings by presamic acid coagulation with a blend of two curds, one from the evening milking, the other from the morning. The milk has to come from cattle raised in farms in the area of production, and 90% of these have to be of the Bruno Alpina breed and bred on grass and hay, 65% of which has to come form the Strachítunt production zone. The use of corn silage and total or part-skimming. The milk from the evening milking is processed using a technique similar to that for all Stracchino cheeses. Calf’s rennet is inoculated at a temperature of 36-37 °C, in some cases with local native starter cultures. The milk coagulates for 20-30 minutes, after which the curd is left to cool and drain in linen cloths overnight (12 hours at about 18°C) in rooms where the humidity is high (80%) and the temperature exceeds 10°C. Twelve hours later, a second curd is prepared from a fresh milking and broken directly into the caldron to produce large hazelnut-sized lumps. The two curds are layered in round moulds, alternating the fresh warm one with the cold one from the night before, the latter being crumbled evenly over the former. This process is usually continued until five layers of curd have been formed, three from the morning and two from the night before. After the top layer has been added, the cheese is left to rest for 30-45 minutes. It is then turned over and, after 24 hours, branded with the STV mark.
The cheese is ripened and dry-salted, first immediately in the evening, then a second time the following morning. It is branded with the STV mark during the first six days after dry-salting of the top and bottom and sides of the cheese, then ripened at a temperature of 4-10° C for at least 75 days. After about 30 days, the cheese is perforated to allow the moulds to develop; since the two curds have different consistencies they fail to amalgamate well and leave small spaces, which fill with air following perforation. It is precisely in these spaces that the natural moulds begin to bloom and the operation may be repeated to favour marbling.
The cheese is produced all year round in the province of Bergamo in the communes of Blello, Gerosa, Taleggio and Vedeseta.
Strachítunt is the ancestor of Gorgonzola and is a member of the Stracchino family, the son of the founder, as it were. It would appear to have been created to recover leftovers from the making of Stracchino. In the old days in fact when there wasn’t enough curd to make a whole cheese, any left over was hung up and layered with the curd from the subsequent milling in round moulds. Hence the so-called “two curd” method, different from the one used to make Stracchino.