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Bitto DOP

Product

Although it is currently eaten fresh,  Bitto (the name of one of the streams running through the  Valtellina) was traditionally a ripened cheese that could resist intact for up to ten years. It is an exclusively alpine pasture cheese (the winter production is called “Valtellina Casera”) but, over the past few years, it has undergone a series of transformations and evolutions in which its taste has often suffered. An extremely important cru for the safeguarding of this cheese’s excellent quality is the production from sixteen Valtellina alpine pastures where traditional methods are scrupulously followed to the letter.  This production is easily distinguished by the words “Valli del Bitto” branded on the forms. The sixteen alpine pastures in question – those in the Val Gerola are particularly important – are mainly steep and rocky and this explains why cow herding is accompanied by goats and the subsequent inclusion of goat’s milk in Bitto.

Organoleptic characteristics
Aspect and texture: hard, yellow, pinhole paste; slightly convex form (the paste is soft and elastic when fresh).
Taste: intense, rich and dry with faint traces of animals, grass and pleasant undertones of goat cheese
Serving suggestions: Full bodied, aged, red wines. Chestnut honey, blueberry jam. Rye bread, “pizzoccheri” and “sciatt” from the Valtellina (buckwheat Bitto filled pancakes)
Technical characteristics
Milk: full fat, raw cow and goats’ milk
Production method: Alpine pasture
Paste: cooked, pressed
Salting: dry and in brine
Ripening: at least 70 days (fresh); at least six months (aged)
Production period: summer
Fats: 45% F-Dm
Weight: 8-25 kg
Size: 30-50 cm diameter, h. 8-10 cm
Producers: Alpine dairies from the Valtellina