- The Stracchino cheeses are typical soft cheeses from Lombardy and generally square in shape. Although there is no precise historical documentation, the name Stracchino appears to come from the dialectal term "stracch", which means “tired”, because it is made at the end of the summer with milk from tired animals after the long journey back from high mountain pastures. The cheese was ripened in the caves of the Bergamo and Lecco Alps, where its qualities were enhanced thanks to the cool and fragrant air currents from the clefts in the rock, acquiring as it matured an unmistakable and exquisite aroma. Stracchino, which was originally produced seasonally, is now made year-round.
- Stracchino Valligiano is a raw cow’s milk cheese, which means that the curd is not heated in any way. The milk is curdled in twenty minutes by adding liquid calf’s rennet and the curds, after being roughly broken up with a “spannarola”, a sort of skimmer, are stirred to obtain even distribution of the temperature and of the fat. It is left to rest for fifteen minutes and then broken down into pieces the size of a hazelnut; after a brief resting period, the curd is collected in linen cloths and placed in moulds, after having been roughly shaped into a rectangle by hand. In the past, the bottom of the moulds used to be lined with thick stalks of grass to help the drainage of the whey which gave the rind of the Stracchino its particular roughness. Today, for reasons of hygiene, slim plastic rods are used. After the whey has been drained off for 18-24 hours, the forms are removed from the moulds and dry-salted.
- The cheese is aged in special cells at a temperature of 3-8°C and a humidity of 85-90 per cent for a period varying from 25 to 50 days. During this period, the Stracchino cheeses are turned frequently and wiped with a cloth soaked in a brine solution that acts as an antiseptic against mould.
- Normally Stracchino Valligiano is square in shape with sides measuring 18-20 centimetres and 4-6 centimetres high. The forms weigh between 1.5 and 2.0 kilos. The rind is thin, soft and pink, the cheese is soft, tender and straw-coloured but darker under the rind. The taste is mild and delicate, slightly acidulous in the innermost part.