The transformation of milk into the cheese starts with the collection of cow’s milk from two milkings, to which are added milk enzymes and calf rennet in liquid or powder form. Once, only raw milk was used to keep the microbial and enzymatic pool intact, today a mild heating treatment is carried out which nonetheless guarantees the natural and traditional evolution of the transformation procedure. Coagulation takes about 25 minutes and gives rise to a curd which is then broken down into grains the size of a grain of rice and cooked at 46° C. The mass is placed in moulds which reproduce the mark of origin and the date of production, pressed for 12-24 hours to foster the rapid drainage of whey and the cohesion between the granules. Montasio PDO can be salted dry or with a mixed system where it is put into a brine bath for 12-18 hours followed by a dry treatment. Ageing is for a period of a minimum of 60 days and to be put on sale, Montrasio DOP must have a maximum humidity of 36%, whilst the minimum value of fat in the dry substance must be 40%.
Fresh Montasio PDO (from 60 days to 5 months of ageing) has an elastic and even structure, a pleasant smell and is delicate and harmonious in flavour. In “mezzano” Montasio DOP (aged from 5 to 12 months), the structure becomes crumblier and the smell is stronger, whilst in the very old type (aged for more than 12 months), the flavour becomes pleasantly sharp.
It can be used grated or as a table cheese, and is an excellent accompaniment to maize polenta or dishes with fine meats.