The Cheese Born from the Volcano

The Cheese Born from the Volcano

Produced in Lessinia, Monte Veronese cheese is one of the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products highlighted by HEVA – Heroes of Europe: Volcanic Agriculture.

Among the dairy products that can boast volcanic origins is undoubtedly Monte Veronese cheese, which originates in the Lessini Mountains, the northern area of the province of Verona whose soils, about 40 million years ago, were part of the active volcanic complex that emerged from the ancient Tetide sea.

Predominantly a mountainous area, rich in fertile pastures, boasting an ancient tradition of livestock farming, Alpine pasture, milk, and cheese production, Lessinia is a spectacular territory both geologically and scenically: the Po Valley stretches to the South, in the background, surrounded by the peaks of the Emiliano Apennines, while to the north rise the massifs of Monte Baldo and Monte Pasubio.

The production of cheeses in these territories has been documented since the Early Middle Ages, and mentions of Monte Veronese production date back even to the Cimbri, who in the 13th century, moving from the Asiago Plateau, settled in the Lessini Mountains to engage in pastoralism. It is from then on, presumably, that Monte Veronese began to be the flagship cheese of these lands.

Preserving Tradition: The Consortium’s Mission

The production of this cheese, offspring of the volcano, is now promoted by the Consortium for the Protection of Monte Veronese PDO Cheese, established in 1983.

The Consortium’s commitment goes beyond ensuring compliance with the production regulations; it also involves promoting the product through the organization of initiatives to safeguard its typicality and unique characteristics, through information, dissemination, and participation in events, fairs, and tastings.

Within the framework of promotional activities involving the Consortium firsthand, there is also the Heva project – “Heroes of Europe: Volcanic Agriculture.”

Financed by the European Union under measure 1144 and aimed at the protection and enhancement of volcanic products, it also involves the collaboration of Italian wine consortia such as Soave, Lessini Durello, as well as the Greek consortium Union of Santorini Cooperatives – Santo Wines.

Among the main objectives of this project, which is based on collaboration between Italy and Greece, is the dissemination of greater knowledge and awareness among consumers regarding the quality and characteristics of wine and dairy production that differentiate themselves based on the volcanic origin of the soils.

From Soil to Flavor: The Essence of Monte Veronese

“‘Whole milk’, ‘aged’, and ‘from mountain pastures’ are the three types of Monte Veronese, each with its own peculiarities and some common characteristics: complexity and a pronounced and intense aromatic profile,” says Alfonso Albi, president of the Consortium. “Intensity and complexity are precisely the result of the lava’s action on the soil over the centuries, which has been able to counteract the mineral acidity of the terrain, generating lands that are suitable for producing raw materials of undeniable quality.”

Products that, even though belonging to different market categories (wines and dairy products), are based on the type of soil that generates them.

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