Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Piave Vecchio (pee-ah-vay)

Piave has been one of the best selling cheeses in this little store for as long as we can remember.  This year because of all of the myriad food distribution problems, we have been without any all year.  Our Piave problems actually started last year when we weren't turning it fast enough and it was drying out on us.  But that was then and this is now.  We have a brand new fresh wheel in the store and it is screaming to all you readers to stop in and taste it.

Piave comes from the Dolomite Mountains region of northernmost Veneto Italy, which is just an extension southward from the Tyrols of Austria.   The cheese is named after the local Piave River.  It is a pasteurized, fully cooked curd, cow's milk cheese and it is most definitely a government certified DOP (Protected Designation of Origin).

They make four types of Piave in that corner of Italy.  Piave Fresco is aged a mere 20-60 days so you might think - yogurt.  Piave Messano is aged 60-180 days.  Vecchio means aged and in this case Piave Vecchio is aged at least a year.  Piave Vecchio Riserva is aged 18 months.  While we have sold some young Piaves here on occasion, it's the aged version that everyone knows as Piave here.

Piave is grouped in the Parmesan category of cheeses.  In the kitchen it can be shaved over salads or grated for the same recipes as parm.  In its area of origin it is a table cheese and eaten with both red and white wines or malt beverages.  In our opinion the aged Piave in this store is strictly a red wine accompaniment.

Being an aged cheese the texture is dense and firm.  The paste is golden yellow in color, smooth with no holes and encased within a natural rind.  The flavor is full with intense nuttiness and opulent tropical fruit flavors.  There is a distinct almond bitterness that somehow works with the other dominant flavors.  Despite the aged character of the cheese, it is never sharp.

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