Ubriaco, the traditional Italian cheese, is not only popular in the native land but also enjoys a high status in other European countries. Cow’s milk is the main component in the production of this hard cheese.
The grainy texture and the similarity to the Cheddar or Romano cheeses make this variety quiet favorable in many European fine restaurants. It is also known as ‘drunken cheese’ in Italy and often misspelled as Umbriaco.
History and Origin of Ubriaco Cheese
The origin of Umbriaco lies in the Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia during the ancient times. This was the time when there was a scarcity of Olive oil in Italy, hence wine and Grape pomace was used to preserve the cheese.
Production of Umbriaco Cheese
The typical Italian Ubriaco is made up of cow’s milk that takes days/weeks to become a hard and grainy cheese. Wine is the major preserving agent used in the production of this cheese. The cheese is soaked in wine and grape pomace (skin) is used to cover it for several days.
The aging process is probably eight-ten months after the preservation is completed. Aging time and the grape varieties greatly affects the color and the texture of the cheese. Some of the main varieties of grape used in the preservation are Merlot, Pignolo, Fragola, Cabernet and many other popular varieties. Even the location of the cheese manufacturer also alters the flavor of the cheese.
Pale-yellow, golden, dark purple or light shade of violet are the main colors that are usually associated with Ubriaco. Tiny holes also appear on the cheese after maturing into a firm, crumbly piece.
Different flavors that make this cheese quiet popular are the hint of pineapple that is considered highly favorable in the context of this variety of cheese. Other flavors include strawberry and red plum flavors with the use of Fragola; however, nutty and berry tastes are also largely associated with this traditional Italian cheese.
Uses of Umbriaco
• This Italian cheese is best tasting with any kind of red wine.
• It is a great snacking option at any meal.
• Addition of herbs and spices and olive oil marinade makes the cheese extra delicious and it can be consumed as part of meals.
• Beer and cheese is a perfect combination in various European countries.
• This cheese can also be a part of cheese platter served as dessert in many European cuisines.
Storing and Serving of Umbriaco Cheese
• Being a hard cheese, Ubriaco can be frozen quiet easily.
• Cheese should be cut into small pieces while freezing.
• Airtight wrapping is always an excellent practice.
• Cheese should be dated at the time of freezing. Hard cheeses are usually stored for not more than 8 months.
• Frozen cheese should be thawed at room temperature before serving.
• While serving the cheese it is better to cut it into bite size pieces.
• If mold is there, it should be removed while serving.
Places of Serving Drunken Cheese
Apart from Italy, Belgium, North America and even France are also popular for serving Ubriaco and Ubriaco dishes.