Crescenza and Stracchino are two soft and creamy Italian cheeses produced in Norther Italy (in particular in Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto). Generally, Crescenza is made from whole milk or pastoralized or semi-skimmed milk and it is 1 week seasoning; meanwhile Stracchino is made only from whole milk and it is 20 days aged. Now, we’re going to explain more details to discover the differences between these two typical Italian cheeses.
Crescenza cheese, the cheese which rises
The name Crescenza comes from the Latin term “Crescentia” or Rising, because it rises like the bread when it is preserved in a warm place. It’s a soft and creamy cheese, white in color and sweet in taste. Crescenza is made from whole semi-skimmed or pasteurized milk, treated with lactobacillus at 37 °C and then the rennet is added. After the coagulation, the cheese is stewed and finally it is dived in brine and aged for 5-10 days.
Crescenza has a spreadable texture and no rind. It usually has a mild and delicate flavor. This rich, fresh cheese is ideally eaten on its own or paired with fresh rocket salad and prosciutto. It is also used on pizzas or baked in focaccia. As a part of cheese board, Crescenza is usually served besides a selection of jams and honey.
Stracchino: the special cheese from tired cows
The name of the cheese derives from the Lombard adjective stracco, meaning “tired”. It is said that milk produced by tired cows coming down from the alpine pastures in the autumn is richer in fats and more acid. These qualities were discovered, according to legend, in the milk of cows who were moved seasonally, up and down the Alps, to different pastures. The milk of such cows gives the cheese its characteristic flavors. Stracchino is a soft cheese, delicate and savored, produced with whole cow’s milk from Lombardy region (the typical production area includes Bergamo and Como). Stracchino cheese is ready after 15-20 days of aging and it is usually eaten on its own, but as easy malting cheese it is also perfect for baked recipes. Stracchino is also used as filled for the famous cheese focaccia from Recco or for piadina romagnola. Stracchino can be tasted also in its goats’ milk version, with a more intense flavor.
Stracchino and Crescentia are two of the oldest soft cheeses produced in Northern Italy, furthermore their delicate flavors makes both of them a very digestible food. They are excellent to prepare a quick snack or some creative antipasto also fit for the sophisticated tastes.