I drive towards Valtaleggio, which is the name of a small, beautiful valley surrounded by mountains in the province of Bergamo. I sniff the scent of the Alps. The essence for the cheeses I am looking for. Because it is here in Taleggio that I find CasArrigoni, where Marco Arrigoni and his daughter Guglia are waiting for me. This is the family business of Marco, his sister Tina and her husband Alvaro. Here, various cheeses, locally produced, such as taleggio DOP from raw milk and Strachìtunt DOP are matured.

Marco and Guglia take me to the underground maturation cellars, hollowed out in the mountain. “These are built of reinforced concrete, a living material that helps us mimic the ripening conditions of natural caves. The cheeses are matured in pine wood boxes and with cotton cloths over them, which also naturally disinfects the cheeses,” says Marco. He shows how the cheeses are washed weekly with water and salt from Sicily. “Call us the keepers of mould or muf,” says Marco. “Because it is the musty that gives our products their characteristic taste, colour and aromas. The mould that develops on the cheese here is unique and cannot be reproduced anywhere else.

The result is a taleggio with a pink and thin crust and a creamy paste on the inside. Its unique taste is obtained after at least 60 days of maturing. The Strachìtunt matures for at least 75 days. The cheeses taste very well with grilled polenta.

Strachìtunt is made with raw, whole milk (still warm, fresh from the cow) and uses the double-paste method, mixing the cooled curd from the night before with the warmed curd from the morning. The cheese is laid down layer by layer. During the maturing process, holes are manually punctured in the cheese to enable the development of mould. It gives the cheese a natural, irregular, marble-like appearance inside. Strachìtunt was overlooked and forgotten for decades, but in recent years it has been rediscovered and reintroduced to consumers. In 2013, Strachìtunt gained DOP recognition

“Strachìtunt is actually the father of gorgonzola: “First there was Strachìtunt and only much later was the formula applied to gorgonzola cheeses,” notices Marco while revealing a big smile.

Address: casArrigoni srl, Fraz. Peghera 575, Valtaleggio

Tip: go to the restaurant Liberty, Via A. Arnoldi 314, Fraz. Peghera di Taleggio to try the cheeses pure or as an ingredient in ravioli, polenta, pancakes, etc…