Raw whole cow’s milk cheese, cylindrical in shape with a diameter of 40-50 cm, flat top and bottom and a slightly concave 9 cm side. The weight varies from 10 to 12 kg. The rind, deep straw-yellow in colour, is compact, elastic, smooth and greasy. The medium inner rind is golden yellow in colour. The body is dull pale yellow with a moderate number of faint eyes. The structure is compact, elastic, smooth and greasy. The aromas are of medium intensity and encompass warm milk and fresh and melted butter, apples and pears, and beef stock. The flavour is sweet and salty with pungent notes in the mature version. Both nose and palate are usually exceptionally long. The cheese melts in the mouth and the mature version may be granulose.
Whole raw cow’s milk is curdled with liquid calf’s rennet at a temperature of 35-37°C and the curd is formed in 30-35 minutes. The curd is then broken into small pieces each the size of a grain of rice and cooked at 45-46°C, stirring delicately all the time. The curd is allowed to settle before being extracted and put into wood hoops. After light pressing and salting, usually by soaking in brine, the rounds are matured in climate-controlled rooms at 10°C with a humidity of 90%. Aging varies from 60 days for the fresh cheese, to 180 for the mature. During this period Branzi is turned and cleaned with brushes and rasps, and the rind is treated. Branzi FTB is protected by the mark of guarantee of the Chamber of Commerce: Bergamo City of a Thousand … Flavours.
Branzi is named for the village in Alta Val Brembana where it was first produced. For the last 50 years and more, the local cooperative dairy has collected the milk of the dairymen of the valley to process it into this excellent cheese. The village hosts the Fair of San Matteo, an important commercial and social get-together.