The name of this Italian DOP cheese comes from the river that rises in the Eastern Alps, in the commune of Sappada, in the province of Belluno. The first productions called “Piave” date back to 1960, when Piave cheese was made in limited quantities and known exclusively in its area of origin. It is made with the milk of cows fed on local forage rich in flowers that give the milk particular sensory characteristics.
Piave PDO – The important recognition of Protected Designation of Origin was given to Piave cheese by the European Union in 2010. Like all Italian DOP cheeses, the production of Piave cheese follows strict rules laid down and protected by the Standards of Production of the Consortium of Protection; these include the obligation of marking the whole side of the cheeses and personalizing them with a silk paper label. Depending on the ageing, Piave cheese can be of four types: fresh (a minimum of 20 days of ageing), “mezzano” (minimum 60 days), old (minimum 180 days) and very old (minimum 12 months). This cheese has a semi-cooked paste, with a soft and light rind in the fresh type, which becomes thicker and more consistent, the longer the period of ageing. In fresh Piave PDO, the paste is very light and compact, whilst in the aged cheese it becomes increasingly straw yellow in colour and with a crumbly structure.
It can be served as a table cheese or as a basic ingredient in traditional recipes such as “formait frit”, fried cheese accompanied by polenta and sauerkraut. The riper types are also widely used grated.
The Piave PDO, like all typical Belluno cheeses, represents a product of safe food value. The average content of the main elements per 100 g of product varies according to the degree of aging of the same: in the Piave PDO Vecchio the protein content for example is about 26 g, the fats 35 g while the energy value is 452 kcal. Fresh or seasoned, Piave PDO is a genuine food, of high energy value and easily digestible, a vehicle for important nutrients essential for all ages.
Its consumption therefore represents a well-established food habit for many consumers who want a healthy and balanced diet without sacrificing the flavor of tradition. It is in fact a genuine product for natural ingredients consisting essentially of fresh milk, lactic ferments, rennet and salt; it is a complete product under the nutritional profile because it contains essential amino acids, calcium and phosphorus; it is easily digestible because during the aging process biochemical modifications make fats and proteins easily assimilable, finally it is a product with a high tolerance to allergies because lactose is present in very low concentrations as it has been degraded by fermentative processes.