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History and some interesting facts
Salva Cremasco is a fresh, soft, washed-rind cheese, made exclusively using full-fat cows' milk.
Salva Cremasco is made in square slabs either 11-13 cm or 17-19 cm in length and width. The sides are straight and are 9-15 cm deep. The cheese weighs either 1.3-1.9 kg or 3-5 kg.
The white rind is very thin and smooth, with a medium texture and the presence of typical micro-flora. The body of the cheese has the occasional tiny hole here and there and a solid, crumbly texture which is softer just below the rind. This is due to the ageing process which tends to start in the centre and radiate out.
Salva Cremasco is a white cheese which takes on a yellow hue the longer it is aged and some signs of proteolysis immediately below the rind. It has an intense, aromatic flavour which becomes stronger in varieties which are aged for longer.
When pressed down, the texture of the cheese is not at all elastic. This is a direct result of the high level of acidity which makes the cheese extremely firm. At first it is crumbly, maybe even a little floury and small areas can even have a sticky texture.
Salva Cremasco must be aged in an environment which is either naturally damp, or which has a controlled humidity level of around 80/90% and a temperature between 2-8 °C compared to the temperature outside. It must be aged on wooden planks.
During the ageing process, which lasts for a minimum of 75 days, the cheese is regularly turned and can also be wiped with a cloth soaked in an alkaline solution or brushed with a dry brush. This helps maintain the classic rind, reduces mould and creates its characteristic colouring.
The rind cannot be treated in any other way, except for normal salt water sponging and the occasional use of oil and aromatic herbs.
The chemical characteristics of Salva Cremasco PDO at the moment it is ready for consumption:
dry matter = min. 48% fat
dry extract = min. 53%
level of furosine = max. 14 mg/100g protein
Area of production
Salva Cremasco is made throughout the region surrounding Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi and Milan.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION SALVA CREMOSO
Amount per 100 g
Vitamin A (mcg)
Vitamin B2 (mcg)
Raw full-fat milk from locally bred Italian Friesian and Bruna Alpina cows is used to make Salva Cremasco. The cows are mainly fed with fodder which can be supplemented with cattle feed.
The fodder used for cows whose milk goes into making Salva Cremasco has to be made up of at least 60% silage, hay and dried fodder.
The milk may be pasteurised at 71.7 °C for 15 seconds, or equivalent treatment. The rennet used must be 100% natural liquid bovine rennet selected from local stock.
The milk coagulates at 32-40 °C and is left for 10-20 minutes, depending on the weather conditions and the type of raw ingredients. The curd is cut twice, first into large pieces, after which it is left to rest for 10-15 minutes to allow it to coagulate further. This begins the draining process and the curds gain a more consistent texture. The curd is then broken a second time into hazelnut-sized pieces. The curd is not heated.
It is then transferred into moulds and cooked for a minimum of eight and a maximum of 16 hours. The temperature must be between 21-29 °C and the humidity level between 80-90%.
During the cooking phase, the cheese is branded to prove its authenticity. While the cheese in the mould is being turned (before salting), a brand made from food-grade plastic is placed to identify the product on one side. This also states the registration number of the cheese-making factory.
The cheese can be either dry-salted or salted in a salt solution.
In order to guarantee quality and traceability, Salva Cremasco must be made from local milk and all the stages of its production and ageing must take place within a clearly defined area.
The patient, local, domestic production of 'furmac soc' has its origins in peasant wisdom. This cheese was the result of a lifestyle where nothing was allowed to be wasted, a concept which is as relevant today – if not more - as it was then.
Numerous historical artefacts have been found dating back to the 10th century which show evidence that milk production was even then a crucial local activity. There are also 17th and 18th frescoes which actually depict Salva Cremasco cheese (Gruppo Antropologico Cremasco – Crema a tavola ieri e oggi – 2001).
The production of Salva Cremasco has continued over the years, maintaining the same traditional methods and providing a significant boost to the local economy and its inhabitants.
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