Piave is a hard, cooked-paste DOP cheese, produced in the province of Belluno only with top-quality raw materials. Made only with fresh milk from Belluno, salt and rennet, it is a cheese rich in calcium and naturally gluten-free.
It stands out for its flavor: sweet and intense, with a full aroma reminiscent of alpine herbs and flowers. Piave DOP cheese is available in five different ages:
Whether fresh or aged, Piave DOP is a wholesome cheese, rich in energetic-giving value, and easily digestible.
The Piave DOP cheese is an excellent vehicle for important nutritional elements essential at any age. Piave DOP is also a cheese suitable for diets of all types, even for those with allergies thanks to the traditional production and aging process.
The seasonings used in Piave DOP, Mezzano, Vecchio, Vecchio Selezione Oro, and Vecchio Riserva are naturally lactose-free.
Milk used for Piave DOP cheeses comes exclusively from the Belluno province, located in the northernmost part of the Veneto region of North-East of Italy.
At least 80% of the milk is produced from the area's native cattle breeds: 'Bruna italiana,' the 'Grigio Alpina,' the 'Pezzata Rossa italiana,' and the 'Frisona.'
Breeding methods follow traditional criteria, characterized by the link between the cattle breed and territory: often free stabling is adopted, and the least expensive, most abundant territorial element is used for feeding: fodder from stable polyphytic meadows. This fodder grows primarily spontaneously, and is integrated with cereals, grains, and top-quality silage of grass and corn.
Piave cheese is produced following ancient cheese-making philosophies, as collected in the modern "Disciplinare di produzione" (Production Regulation). A "lactic starter" and "serum starter" are added to the milk.
These solutions are produced onsite from raw milk and processeding whey, and they contain autochthonous strains of enzymes, which are an essential element in establishing the cheeses' specific organoleptic properties.
Following coagulation, "presame" is added, and the curd is cooked and formed in molds.
Seasoning with salt and immersion in a solution of water and salt ensues. At the end of its production cycle, the Piave cheese can be aged in temperature and humidity-controlled warehouses.
The first production given the name "Piave" dates back to 1960, when Piave DOP cheese was produced in limited quantities and known only in the area of origin, the province of Belluno (Veneto-Italy). Thanks to the growing consensus of consumers, the quantity produced has increased and the fame of this typical cheese has crossed the borders of the Belluno area to first reach the Veneto region and then large areas of northern and central Italy, and then found wide support abroad, particularly in the United States and Canada. Piave DOP cheese is still produced exclusively in the province of Belluno, the northernmost part of Veneto (and Italy) following the traditional recipe which has been handed down from generation to generation.
The milk used for the production of Piave comes exclusively from the province of Belluno, and at least 80% is produced from typical breeds of cattle of the production area: the Italian Brown, the Alpine Grey, the Italian Pezzata Rossa and the Italian Friesian breed. The breeding methods follow the traditional criteria, characterized by the link between the breed of cattle raised and the land: this often means adopting free stall housing, with the livestock sometimes being taken to higher pastures in the summer months; and as regards feeding, provided it is of excellent quality, the use of the least expensive and most abundant foods naturally available – grazing ‘ stable polyphytic meadow fodder’ ( a multi species unploughed meadow grass) which is largely natural, and integrated with cereals, grains, grass and corn.
In 2010 Piave cheese obtained the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), which is the highest recognition by the European Union, sanctioning the link between its unique and unmistakable characteristics and the territory of production. In order to guarantee the quality of the product and to protect the cheese from abuse and counterfeiting, the Consortium for the Protection of Piave DOP Cheese was born.
The Consortium also safeguards the typicality and the peculiar characteristics of Piave DOP cheese, promotes its knowledge in all markets and enhances the product by informing consumers.
The PDO is a mark of legal protection of the denomination that is attributed, by law, to those foods whose peculiar quality characteristics depend essentially on the territory where they are produced.
PDO products must follow strict production rules established in the production disciplinary and the respect of these rules is guaranteed by a specific committee.
The Piave DOP cheese disciplinary foresees the province of Belluno as the only area of milk collection, production and seasoning, and indicates the quality of the milk, the breeding methods and the composition of the "recipe".