Asiago (d'Allevo)

/ah-SYAH-goh dahl-LEH-voh/

A wheel of hard cheese made with cow's milk, although it was traditionally made with sheep's milk. It has a spongy, white paste with occasional small holes and a smooth, glossy rind varying from yellow to brown. The paste colours to grey as it ages. It is made in Asiago in Vicenza in the North of Italy. This cheese is at its best from mid autumn (US: fall) to spring although its quality is good throughout the year and is made with raw, skimmed milk, containing 30-45% fat (dry)/24% (total). The curds are scalded and pressed. It may be found in the following dimensions: 30-36 cm (12-14") diameter x 9-12 cm (3.5-5") deep, weighing 8-15 Kg (18-33 lb). Affinage is anything from 3 months to 2 years. As it ages it hardens and becomes a good grating cheese and is flaky rather than crumbly. a slightly piquant, penetrating flavour but no smell. PDO status (No 1107) was awarded on 12/06/1996.