Thursday, February 25, 2010


Formaggi per Tradizione

…a part of life and a way of life…for millennia.
Historians believe cheese making may have originated in the Middle East, possibly as far back as 3500 B.C. There is definite evidence of Egyptian cheese making dating from 2300 B.C. Cheese has certainly been a part of life and a way of life in Italy for millennia. The Romans took the art of cheese making to all corners of the empire, and after their decline, hundreds of styles of cheeses developed as a consequence. Besides being delicious, cheese making also served a very practical purpose; it preserved fresh milk, making it more compact and portable.

…sophisticated and refined appreciation of cheese and cheese making.
Today hundreds of different styles of cheese are produced with different textures, flavors and appearances. There are more than four hundred varieties of cheese produced in modern Italy alone. From the time of the Romans, Italy has retained its sophisticated and refined appreciation of cheese and cheese making. As part of Avanti Savoia’s ongoing commitment to “Culinary Treasures from Around the World,” we are extremely excited to announce that we now have available a selection of these fine Italian cheeses.

There are many factors that contribute to the character and nature of a particular cheese.

Place and environmental conditions of origin: location of the dairy, climate, weather and the seasons all influence the “terroir” of the cheeses.
Variety of milk: cheese can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, buffalos and just about anything else that lactates. The animals’ diets are also a factor.
Fat and moisture content: contributes to the creation of hard cheese or soft cheese, consistency, richness and flavors. Double Creams or Triple Creams are terms to describe cheeses that are enriched with the addition of additional cream.
Production methods and aging: this includes methods to separate the milk into curds and whey; converting milk sugar into lactic acid; setting the cheese with rennet or other substances, draining water from the curds; salting, shaping, stretching and the all important process of aging, which refines and develops flavors in cheese and can last from days to years. Some cheeses are also allowed to develop molds and which in traditional production the molds may actually be present in the aging rooms. Modern methods usually employ prepared cultures to ensure precise control.
Pasteurization: US law requires that pasteurized milk to be used in cheese making or that the raw-milk versions must be aged for at least two months. Pasteurization is somewhat controversial, as many cheese lovers consider raw-milk cheese to a have a better flavor.
Serving: Serve good cheese at room temperature! Flavor, texture and aroma are all reduced and limited in cold cheese.

…maximum hands-on attention and passionate care.
Our source for the “best of the best” of Italian cheese making is the highly respected firm of Luigi Guffanti. For 5 generations, the Guffanti/Fiori families have been dedicated to the art of the affinamento, or affinage of cheese. This is the centuries old craft of nurturing, aging and refining of cheeses selected from the producers. This process may require brushing, turning, and washing or bathing, but always requires maximum hands-on attention and passionate care. The dairies and cheese makers are only part of the story. Legendary cheeses created by nature in mountain pastures and artisan dairies are perfected in the “seasoning grottos” of Luigi Guffanti.

…originally accomplished …in an abandoned silver mine
Founded in 1876, Luigi Guffanti originally accomplished his refinement process in an abandoned silver mine, which provided the required constant temperature and humidity. For over 130 years this company has researched the places, people and traditions that create the finest cheeses. Representatives of the Guffanti Company still observe each phase of the cheese making process on location to assure only the best quality.

…and of course, a nice glass of vino.
Many Americans are only familiar with Italian cheeses in the context of cooking or grating on their pasta. However, we highly recommend that you enjoy small wedges of these artisan creations “as they are” with good bread, fresh fruit, nuts, drops of Balsamic vinegar or honey and of course, a nice glass of vino.

The most famous of all Italian cheeses and one of the finest cheeses in the world! Named for the Northern Italian town of Parma, production of this Italian classic is mainly, and traditionally, located in the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia. The hard rind of Parmesan is created by a brining process that protects the inner cheese. Made with skimmed, raw, cow’s milk, the texture of this famous cheese is hard and grainy with a sweet fruity aroma and rich nutty flavor. Recommended wines are full- bodied, big reds and also young, sparkling whites.

PECORINO MAREMMANO (Maremmano Sheep’s Milk Cheese) Try me
Production of Pecorino can be documented from the XIII century. This sweet and delicate cheese is a specialty of Tuscany, made with full fat, raw or pasteurized sheep’s milk.. Perfect served with“sciocco,” the unsalted bread of Tuscany. Enjoy with a Chianti Classico or a California Sangiovese.

A young, soft classic Italian cheese produced with sheep’s milk in central Tuscany dairies. Marzolino is a fresh, sweet, full fat cheese produced using vegetable rennet derived from the flowers of wild artichokes. A delicious cheese served with fruit and a Chianti Riserva.

PROVOLONE del MONACO (Monk’s Provolone) Try me
Produced from dairies in the Sorrentino Peninsula, Monk’s Provolone is a well known, traditional and distinctive cheese, dating back to the early Romans. There are numerous legends concerning the dark brown color of Provolone del Monaco. A favorite story is that the cheese resembles the color of the monk’s habit. This intense cheese made with full fat and raw cow’s milk can be paired with red and white wines or even lagers. Combine with good bread, savory relishes and preserves.


PECORINO “Foja de Noce” (Sheep’s milk cheese packed in walnut leaves) Try me
When mature this high butterfat cheese has a light vegetal, walnut and peppery taste. It is produced from dairies in Montefeltro and aged between layers of walnut leaves. The cheese blends well with other flavors and is very special when paired with balsamic jelly or Truffle honey. Serve with Valpoicella or other full bodied red wines.

Avanti Savoia and Luigi Guffanti are delighted to introduce you to these truly great Italian traditional cheeses and wish you a hearty “Buon Appetito!”