Latte Intero, D’Allevo and Di Malga: All the Shapes of Monte Veronese

Latte Intero, D’Allevo and Di Malga: All the Shapes of Monte Veronese

Monte veronese

How many cheeses can come from a volcano? 

 

Monte Veronese is one: it is produced in the northern area of the province of Verona, whose soils were part of an extensive active volcanic complex that emerged from the ancient Tethys Ocean, about 40 million years ago. 

It is a predominantly mountainous area featuring wide fertile pastures and boasting an ancient tradition of cattle breeding, Alpine pasture and dairy production. This territory roughly corresponds to that of Lessinia: an impressive landscape with the Po Valley stretching towards south in the background, surrounded by the peaks of the Emilian Apennines, while Mount Baldo and Mount Pasubio majestically rise on the north. 

This bustling territory has been making cheese since the early Middle Ages, when the product was a precious commodity that replaced currency. Production of Monte Veronese dates back to the Cimbri, an ancient population that, in the 13th century, moved from the Asiago Plateau and settled on the nearly uninhabited Lessini Mountains to practice animal farming. This most probably marked the beginning of Monte Veronese being the renowned dairy product of this land. 

The name refers to the word “monta”, a term from the local Veronese dialect that means “milking”. 

 

To know more about the history of Lessinia, read our dedicated entry
>> Underwater Volcanoes and the Cimbri: The Ancient History of Lessini Durello 

 

LATTE INTERO, D’ALLEVO OR DI MALGA? 

When talking about Monte Veronese, we must certainly tackle the different types produced: «Latte Intero», «d’Allevo» and «di Malga» (lit. “Whole milk”, “Farmed milk” and “Alpine milk”). We’ll try to clear the air and understand the differences and peculiarities of each type. 

Latte Intero 

MonteVeronese Latte Intero is a cheese made with whole cow’s milk that comes from one or two consecutive milking. Unlike with many long-aged cheeses, using whole milk ensures higher fat content, which must not be less than 44% (as stated in the disciplinary). It is a soft and elastic cheese with a delicate and pleasant flavor that recalls freshly extracted milk. To enhance these characteristics, Monte Veronese Latte Intero is usually consumed within two months of production, following a minimum aging period of 25 days as required by the disciplinary.  Latte Intero is the young and fresh type of Monte Veronese and is the most produced and present in the market. 

D’Allevo 

Monte Veronese d’Allevo is produced in the same manner as the Latte Intero type but makes use of skimmed milk from one or two consecutive milking. Skimming milk is a typical Italian practice: this process enables dairy producers to make butter and cheese from the same milk. But it also leads to the production of harder, more compact and long-lived cheeses that are suitable for long-distance transportation. Aging whole milk cheeses entailed (and still does) some level of uncertainty: with time, the fat contained in the milk can acidify and alter the cheese’s flavor. 

According to Italian mountain tradition, Monte Veronese d’Allevo is skimmed and left to age for at least 90 days, as opposed to the 25 days required for the Latte Intero type. The result is a yellow cheese that becomes harder and slightly more grainy as it ages. The more decisive flavor recalls matured butter and hazelnut, even becoming spicy for more aged versions. 

Monte Veronese d’Allevo must be enjoyed after appropriate aging and is perfect with vegetable gratin, shaved on polenta or grated on risottos. This cheese is an ideal match with well-structured and boldly tannic wines. 

Di Malga 

Until a few decades ago, hundreds of cottages dedicated to the production of Monte Veronese d’Allevo surrounded the Lessini Mountains. Depopulation of the mountains reduced the number of these cottages, a phenomenon that alarmed Slow Food. This prompted the organization, with the support of the Regione Veneto, to unify the remaining cottages producing Monte Veronese d’Allevo under the name «di Malga» in 2004. This type of Monte Veronese is very similar to the d’Allevo type but makes use of milk obtained from cows that grazed in the mountains. The result is a more intense aromatic profile, a typical trait of cheeses produced in high altitudes. Monte Veronese d’Allevo di Malga is a Slow Food Presidium and is distinguished by the letter “M” printed along the edges of the cheese wheel. 

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