Bitto is produced exclusively from milk drawn in mountain pastures in the province of Sondrio and some neighbouring municipalities in the Alta Valle Brembana [Upper Brembana Valley] and in the province of Lecco. The processing technique and the name Bitto, ‘Bitu’, meaning perennial, date back to the Celts. The cheese is produced during the period when the cows are taken up to the summer alpine pastures, from 1 June to 30 September.
Whole raw milk cow’s cheese to which it is possible to add up to 10% raw goat’s milk. Cylindrical in shape, it has a flat top and bottom with a diameter of 30-50cm, and concave sides 8-12 cm high. Its weight varies from 8 to 25 kg. The smooth, compact rind is straw-yellow in colour and gets darker with maturing. The medium inner rind is hazelnut in colour and the body is straw-white with sparse bird’s eye-sized eyes. With ageing, the body becomes more compact and friable and melts in the mouth, while the eyes become moist and tangy. The flavour is sweet, salty and bitter. In the young cheese it is delicate but grows more intense with maturing. When goat’s milk is added, it acquires a trigeminal sensation of pungency. Aromas include warm milk and melted butter, fermented hay and beef stock. The structure is greasy, rubbery, melt-in the mouth and granulose when the cheese is mature.
Bitto PDO keeps extremely well: the ripening process can in fact last for up to ten years. It should be conserved on the bottom shelf of the fridge, protected with aluminium foil. Fresh, it is an excellent table cheese to serve with dried fruits, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and accompanied by rye bread. It can also be used as a quality ingredient in numerous traditional Valtellinese dishes: it is the primary ingredient for pizzoccheri and taragna polenta, as well as completing dishes such as risotto, baked pasta and fondue. The mature cheese forms are used for grating. Bitto PDO pairs well with local wines: Valtellina Superiore PDO, Inferno and Sassella.
PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)(ES). Protected designation of origińe (PDO) stands for a product for which the principal steps for production are done following a well-established technique within the same geographical area, which gives the product its characteristics. Year of registration 1996
279 kcal per 100 gr.
20.1 gr. per 100 gr.
22 gr. per 100 gr.
0.8 gr. per 100 gr.
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18 08 2016 - Date of publication of this article
28 11 2016 - Date of last edit