Type of milk
According to legend, Gorgonzola was invented by a lovesick cheese maker who, in his haste to meet his lover, forgot the curd in a cauldron over night only to mix it up on the following morning. The resulting cheese, given that the more acid paste from the previous evening would not amalgamate perfectly with the morning’s paste, had a wealth of folds and crannies which encouraged the development of moulds inside the cheese as it ripened. The outcome, however, was a pleasant change and the method was subsequently repeated deliberately.
In effect, the method of working with a ‘double paste’, mixing the evening’s curd with that of the morning, has been used for many years in the production of Gorgonzola. Another characteristic of the production methods of this cheese that was awarded denomination of protection origin (DOP) status in 1955, is its ‘baking’ – the placing of the fresh cheeses in a heated room to favour the expulsion of the serum – and its piercing with needles to encourage the development of penicillin.
The Piccante version should be distinguished from the better known Sweet Gorgonzola, which is soft and creamy, as the former, traditional, version has a firmer paste with less serum content due to a longer ‘baking’ period.