Asiago Cheese - Cheese Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Asiago is a whole milk cheese that originated in Northern Italy, around the Po River Valley near the Trentino Alto Adige region, where Italy borders Austria. Coming from the mountains, Asiago is similar to other mountain cheeses, such as Switzerland’s Gruyere or France’s Beaufort. Like other mountain cheeses, Asiago is made in large wheels designed for long-term aging to get through tough winters. Dense and flavorful, Asiago’s flavor profile changes as time polishes the wheels over the course of several months or years. Taken from the milk of cows grazing on the grasses and wildflowers of the mountains, Asiago can have a fresh, fruity flavor, or a savory, zesty taste on the palate.

Different Types of Asiago Cheese: Asiago is often categorized by its age into three distinct types:

  • Asiago Pressato: The youngest form of asiago, this is the mildest, sweetest Asiago. It has a springy, pale interior, and pairs wonderfully with a light, fruity wine.
  • Asiago d’Allevo: Aged for five months, this version of asiago begins to become fuller in flavor and develop notes of hazelnut and fruit. Excellent as a table cheese with Barolo, Asiago d'Allevo also shreds and melts well in cooked dishes.
  • Asiago d’Allevo Oro del Tempo: The rarest form of Asiago, this has been aged for a full year under carefully monitored conditions. In this cheese, the sweetness and nuttiness found in the five-month version have turned to a butterscotch sweetness, with an emerging sharpness on the palate.
Enjoying Asiago Cheese: Younger forms of Asiago are preferred for table cheeses, perhaps with some fruit and a sweet wine from the neighboring Italian region of Friuli. Asiago also pairs wonderfully with a cured pork product called Speck, which is produced in the same region as Asiago. Speck is similar to prosciutto, but with a stronger flavor, as it is rubbed with rosemary and juniper, then smoked. A thin slice of Speck wrapped around a 5 or 12-month piece of Asiago is perfection for any food lover.

Older forms of Asiago offer more pronounced flavors for those who want to eat it on its own. But older Asiago is also well suited for grating and adding to pasta, risotto, soups, or salads. Consider using a block of our one-year Asiago instead of Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano as a change of pace. Or make a potato gratin with five-month Asiago instead of cheddar or gruyere. This versatile cheese will soon become a staple in your kitchen as it has all across Italy.

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