Piave cheese is produced exclusively in the province of Belluno, situated in the northernmost part of the Veneto region. It is in this area, dominated by the evocative Dolomite mountains, that the legendary Piave river flows: from its source on Monte Peralba in the northernmost part of the province, via the Cadore and Feltrino areas to the plain at the foot of the Venetian Prealps.
The production of Piave cheese begins with the filtering and pasteurization of the raw milk. This is followed by the pouring of the milk and lactic enzymes into vats and the curdling phase via the addition of rennet obtained from the stomachs of calves which, acting on the casein – the principal protein in milk – causes coagulation.
The curdling phase is followed by the division of the curd itself into circular recipients where is left to allow the excess whey to drain.
A transporter chain then engages with the container and conducts it to the pressing area where, via the use of hydraulic jacks the cheese is pressed for around 40 minutes, losing further liquids and taking on the correct density.
At the end of the pressing phase, the cheese is removed from the mold and placed in a branding mold around the internal edge of which is the name of the cheese in relief.
During this branding phase, the outside edge of the cheese is marked with the characteristic product logo.
At this point, the cheese, enclosed in the fascera or branding mold and placed on supports, is stored in the “resting towers” for 12 hours for an initial, partial ageing and compacting phase.
On leaving the “resting towers”, the cheese has a more intense yellow color and a thin, permeable rind that makes it compact and permits it to be immersed in brine (a solution of salt and water) for the last phase of the cycle, salting, which lasts for a minimum of 48 hours.
Once the production cycle has been concluded, the cheese is ready to be sent to the ageing store, placed on wooden shelves and periodically brushed, turned and maintained in the optimum conditions of temperature and humidity for the time required for ageing.