A sharp-flavored Italian cheese, originally made of sheep’s milk, now of cow’s milk. The poor man’s Parmesan. When young it is firm, slightly salty cheese and good for sandwiches. Best for grating when it becomes older and hardens. American Asiago isn’t as fine as cheese as its Italian counterpart.
Asiago is an Italian cow’s milk cheese that can assume different textures, according to its aging, from smooth for the fresh Asiago (Asiago Pressato) to a crumbly texture for the aged cheese (Asiago d’allevo). The aged cheese is often grated in salads, soups, pastas, and sauces while the fresh Asiago is sliced to prepare panini or sandwiches; it can also be melted on a variety of dishes and cantaloupe.
As Asiago has a protected designation of origin (Denominazione di Origine Protetta or DOP, see below), the only “authentic” Asiago is produced around the alpine area of the Asiago Plateau, in the regions of Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige Asiago cheese is one of the most typical products of the Veneto region. It was, and still is, the most popular and widely used cheese in the DOP area where it is produced. The production area is strictly defined: It starts from the meadows of the Po Valley and finishes in the Alpine pastures between the Asiago Plateau and the Trentino’s highlands. The officially designated area where the milk is collected and Asiago DOP cheese is produced extends to four provinces in the north-east of Italy: the entire area of Vicenza and Trento and part of the provinces of Padua and Treviso. Asiago cheese which is produced and matured in dairies located more than 600 m (2,000 ft) above sea level, using milk from farms also more than 600 m (2,000 ft) above sea level, is entitled to the additional label “Product of the Mountains”.