Cheese making is the most important activity for farms in the Como area, discover how to make it with Lake Como cooking classes by Slow Lake Como.
Both fresh and mature cheeses are made using cows’ milk, goats’milk or a combination of both.
Cows’milk cheeses include typical Semuda, magro di Bellagio, Lariano di latteria and Lariano di alpeggio, whilst goat’s cheeses include Lariano di capra (both fresh and mature) and goat cheese obtained with lactic and presamic coagulation.
Mixed milk cheeses include Zincarlin, made from whey or ricotta with the addition of herbs and pepper. Semüda is made from unpasteurized skimmed cow’s milk, rennet and salt. Its shape is usually cylindrical (average diameter 20-30 cm), with a maximum height of 8 cm and a weight of 2 – 4 kilograms.
Pastures of the Lake Como area boast great quality and variety in terms of composition of vegetation and flora, which have been selected over time by the mild and temperate climate.
Moist and fertile soils that are slightly inclined, altitudes that are never too high and sunny slopes are very favourable conditions.
Over the centuries, the practice of taking animals to mountain pastures has become increasingly popular among small local communities that, have selected autochthonous cow and goat breeds and chosen dairy and cheese-making techniques that are deeply rooted in the food culture and habits of their lands of origin.
In the autumn-winter period and in early spring, milk was given to the rotational dairies of the area. Today, many farmers have opened their own small cheese-making factories in order to directly sell to the public.