Asiago Fresco is produced in an area that ranges from the irrigated flatlands of the Padana plain to the mountain pastures of the Asiago Plateau and the Trentino region. The milk production and Asiago PDO cheesemaking area comprises four provinces: Vicenza, Trento and parts of Padua and Treviso. This represents the area in which Asiago cheese was originally made, the Asiago Plateau and surrounding districts in which production of the cheese is widespread. Asiago cheese produced with farmhouse milk entirely processed at an altitude of over 600 metres may also be promoted as a “Mountain Product”.
Only Asiago cheese produced in this area is authentic Asiago PDO cheese.
Asiago Fresco PDO cheese is obtained via the processing of whole cow’s milk. The milk heated in the vat coagulates thanks to an enzyme of bovine origins, rennet, at a temperature between 35 and 40° C, giving rise to the curd.
Cutting of the curd
The lira or stirrer is the instrument used to cut the curd, a process that continues until granules similar in size to a walnut are obtained.
In the scalding phase, the curd is heated to a temperature of around 44° C. At the end of this phase, the curd is extracted from the vat and transferred to the work bench.
On the work bench, the curd is repeatedly cut, dried, salted and turned. In some cases, these operations are automated with the use of continuous production lines.
Molding and shaping
The next phases involve the molding and shaping of the cheese and the application to the still warm wheel of progressively numbered casein plaques identifying each cheese.
Pressing and binding
The wheels are pressed with hand or pneumatic presses for some hours.
The wheels are then placed in branding molds which impress the Asiago PDO mark on their edges .
Cooling and salting
The cheese is kept for at least two days under controlled temperature (10-15° C) and humidity (80-85%) conditions before dry or brine salting is completed.
The final phase in the process is the ageing of the Asiago Fresco cheese, which must last at least 20 days at a temperature of around 10-15° C ageing