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March’s cheese of the month is…
At Shisler’s we carry the aged version of Asiago (ah-SYAH-goh) Cheese, an Italian cheese more specifically known as Asiago d´Allevo. It is aged anywhere from three months to up to a year. The texture also varies from semi-firm to firm depending on how long it is aged and it contains small to medium holes throughout its body. It has a sweet and nutty flavor, reminiscent of Parmesan.
It is popular as a table cheese and is good when enjoyed with crackers, fruits, and red wine. It is treated as interchangeable with parmesan and romano cheeses in some cuisines.
History of Asiago Cheese
Asiago Cheese is an Italian cheese named after a region in Italy where it was first produced. This region is known as the Asiago High Plateau, which lies within the Italian Alps. As far back as the year 1000 AD, Asiago cheese was produced by farmers in this region for use locally. Now, it is manufactured commercially in northeast Italy, specifically in the provinces of Vincenza e Trento, Padua, and in Treviso.
How to Use Asiago Cheese
The aged cheese is often grated into salads, soups, pastas, and sauces while the fresh Asiago cheese is sliced to prepare panini or sandwiches. It can also be melted on a variety of dishes.
It is a brilliant cheese to bake into bread for a cheesy treat or grate over soft pretzels before baking. We also think it works particularly well with chicken dishes. Try pasta with asiago, chicken and a cream sauce or stuff a chicken breast with slices of Asiago and wrap it in pancetta or prosciutto before cooking. You could also try it instead of Parmesan when making a Caesar salad.
For a vegetarian dish, try roasted cauliflower with a cheese sauce. Add toasted flaked almonds for a crunchy topping or even some raisins if you like sweet and savory dishes.
Like many Italian cheeses, it is fairly universal when it comes to wine pairing. It is more commonly paired with reds such as Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and of course Chianti. For those who prefer white wines, Asiago cheese also pairs well with Chardonnay, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc. If you like to try cheeses with beer, we recommend an IPA or a Saison style beer, as the fruitiness will work well with the cheese.
Have you tried this cheese? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Let us know in the comments!