Asiago cheese is a type of swiss-style alpine cheese that is made in the Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige regions of Italy. It is a semi-hard cheese that has a nutty, earthy flavor and a slightly grainy texture.
In this blog post, we will discuss all you need to know about Asiago Cheese!
The Type of Asiago
Asiago is made in many countries around the world, but the original PDO Asiago is unpasteurized made from Italy. There are two main types of Asiago cheese – Asiago Pressato (fresh) and Asiago d’Allevo (aged).
Asiago Pressato, or Pressed Asiago, cheese is a whole cow’s milk aged cheese. It’s a semi-hard cheese that is made by hydraulic pressing the curds (we discussed below) for a few hours before being cured. It has a mild flavor and a firm texture with irregular holes or eyes.
It has a sweet delicate, buttery flavor and is slightly tangy and salty. The color can vary from white to pale yellow, and the texture is smooth and creamy. The cheese is aged for about 20-40 days.
Asiago d’Allevo, or Aged Asiago, cheese is a hard cheese that is made by partially skimmed cow’s milk. It has a stronger flavor than the Pressato, with a nutty, earthy taste. Asiago d’Allevo is aged for at least 4 months, may up to 2 years. It has a sharper flavor and a grainy/crumbly texture.
Asiago d’Allevo can be further classified based on the aging period (1):
- Sweet Asiago – 3-6 months
- Savoury Asiago – 6-10 months
- Old Asiago – 10-15 months
- Very mature Asiago – 15-24 months
The older the asiago, the sharper the flavor. Also with a more nutty and savory taste similar to parmesan. The texture will also become dryer, harder, and grainier. The color will also get darker brown.
Production of Asiago
The production of Asiago cheese begins by heating the unpasteurized milk to 35°C. Starter culture and rennet are then added, and the cheese is coagulated to form curd. The curd is cut into small pieces and rested until they start to settle at the bottom.
The curds are collected and placed in molds. The molds are then hydraulically pressed for a few hours (for Asiago Pressato). The cheese is then brined and aged.
You can read my step-by-step traditional asiago production here.
The Serve and Use of Asiago Cheese
Asiago cheese can be used in many dishes, both savory and sweet. It can be melted, shredded, or grated. Some popular ways to use Asiago cheese are:
- Fettuccine Alfredo – Adding Asiago to this classic dish makes it even creamier and more flavorful.
- Pizza – The nutty, earthy flavor of asiago pairs perfectly with pizza sauce and toppings.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Melting some Asiago on a grilled cheese sandwich will make it extra cheesy and delicious.
- Lasagna – Asiago cheese is one of the popular choices in this Italian classic.
- French Toast – Adding asiago to french toast will give it a nice, salty flavor.
It’s often used to replace parmesan in recipes.
Nutrition of Asiago
Asiago cheese is a great source of calcium and protein. One ounce (1 slice) of Asiago cheese (Belgioioso) provides about 100 calories, 20% DV (daily value) of calcium, and 14% DV of protein. A significant amount of Vitamin A and Sodium, and small amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
Price of Asiago Cheese
Overall, asiago is not considered to be a particularly expensive cheese. However, the price of asiago cheese can vary depending on the producer, type and age.
According to the CLAL Italy, the last 3 years retail price of asiago averaging at about US$9-10 per pound in Italy.
Generally, fresh asiago is cheaper than aged asiago. In the United States, you can buy a pound of medium-age Wisconsin-made asiago for around $9, the imported Italian asiago costs about $16-20 per pound, while a pound of aged asiago can cost up to $40.