If you’re a true cheese lover, you know that there are “so many cheeses, so little time.”
But we can cut down on the list a bit, because it’s National American Cheese Month.
The American Cheese Society says that, “American Cheese Month is a celebration of North America’s delicious and diverse cheeses, and the farmers, cheesemakers, retailers, cheesemongers and chefs who bring them to your table.”
So how about trying a different new-to-you, made-in-America cheese for American Cheese Month?
How about trying something new?
There are so many great artisan cheesemakers. We don’t mean to exclude anyone, but check out the websites of:
Crescenza, sometimes known as stracchino, is a staple in the Italian kitchen.
Says Mozzarella Company of Dallas, “Crescenza is one of those cheeses that no one has ever heard of but everyone loves when they taste it. It is a soft, fresh Italian cheese with a tart, clean flavor.
It is similar recipe to stracchino. The difference is that crescenza is made from whole milk or semi-skimmed milk and aged for 5-10 days, while stracchino is made only from whole milk and it aged for 20 days.
“Whenever we serve Crescenza at cheese tastings, this is the cheese that people invariably buy to take home.”
O.K…we’re in, we said, and we placed an order. It is as promised: delicious.
While the cheese is Italian in origin, there are a number of American cheese makers who make it; both artisan and factory producers.
Crescenza (creh-SEN-za) is made from cow’s milk. It is a young, soft cheese, aged for just a couple of weeks before it is sold.
Eaten very young, it has no rind and a very creamy texture. It is typically square in shape.
It is a great cheese for expressing the natural flavor and aromatics of a good quality milk, a showcase for the wonderful fresh flavors and aromas of the milk.
The Crescenza from Mozzarella Company:
Beyond antipasto and appetizers, focaccia, sandwiches, melting on grilled cheese or other recipes (casseroles, ravioli, whatever).
For snacking or a cheese plate, The cheese was first made in Lombardy, Italy and areas adjacent to this northern Italy city where it is commonly served as a snacking or appetizer cheese with fruit,
Crescenza and stracchino have long been made in Northern Italy, regions of Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Romagna and Veneto.
There’s a legend, of course.
Most cheeses are historically made in the spring and summer, when the pastures are lush and green, the days are long and the milk is as fresh as can be.
Crescenza and stracchino were traditionally made during the autumn and winter months, after the cows had descended from the mountain pastures.
The physical exertion of the hike increased the butterfat content of the milk, making a richer cheese.
The cows were tired after the long season and their descent; hence, tired cows.
For stracchino, the name of the cheese derives from the Lombard adjective stracco, meaning tired.
The origin of the name Crescenza comes from the Italian crescere, which means “to grow.” If kept in a warm place, the cheese tends to increase in size, just like rising bread!
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