Italian flavors: Castelmagno Cheese
- WTI Magazine #148 Feb 19, 2022
Castelmagno DOP is named after the town of the same name, situated between the Maritime and Cottian Alps in the province of Cuneo, its main commercial centre and the area in which it was first made centuries ago. The origins of Castelmagno are very ancient. The earliest official document mentioning its existence and appreciation is an arbitration award of 1277 concerning the use of the Martini Granges in the coombe of Narbona, on the border between Castelmagno and Celle Macra, a municipality of the neighbouring Maira Valley.
The municipality of Castelmagno lost the dispute and the penalty of defeat required the payment of certain cheeses to the Marquis of Saluzzo as an annual fee. Nowadays, only the presence of the trademark guarantees the origin of the product (through the number that identifies each dairy) and its genuineness, i.e. its compliance with the specific Castelmagno requirements.
For greater “consumer protection”, the Castelmagno Consortium and the production companies are subject to inspections by the Istituto Nord Ovest Qualità (INOQ), an inspection body responsible for ensuring compliance with the cheese production requirements and which authorises companies to use the mark of origin.
Castelmagno obtained DOC recognition in 1982, and the consortium for the protection of Castelmagno cheese was established by its producers on 19 June 1984. The cheese subsequently also received PDO recognition.
Castelmagno DOP belongs to the category of veined cheeses or blue cheeses. The term “veining” refers to the characteristic presence of special moulds of the Penicillium genus in the paste of the cheese. Castelmagno DOP can display the additional indication “Mountain Product”: its production area (origin of the milk/processing/cheese making and maturation) is in fact classified as a mountain area and the cheese is produced throughout the year. This wording must be on a blue background on the label.
If, however, it is produced in the period from May to October at an altitude of over 1,000 metres, in the mountain areas of the municipalities included in the production area, and complies with an exact list of strict production rules, it can also bear the indication “Alpine”. In this case, the wording must appear on a green background.
The local area
Castelmagno DOP can only be produced and matured in the administrative territory of the municipalities of Castelmagno, Pradleves and Monterosso Grana, in the province of Cuneo. The milk for the cheese making must also come from the same area.
By Consorzio per la tutela del formaggio Castelmagno with MiPAAF