The other day my friend, and fellow turophile, Joe, introduced me to Sapore Del Piave. Made in the Veneto region of Italy along the river Sapore, this 100% raw cow’s milk cheese is a more refined version of Piave, with complexities you won’t find with the other cheeses that share the name. Aged for approximately 16 months, Sapore Del Piave has that crunch that is associated with all of the great aged Italian cheeses.
This rich, golden cheese has a crumbly texture similar to Parmigiano, but softer in flavor. The smell of it alone–the delicious nutty but sweet aroma–is enough to make you go Mmm-Mmm! It begins with a saltiness on the tongue that leads into a mouth-coating creamy, sweetness. There are delicious notes of butterscotch, honey, and caramel along with the cheese’s staple nutty flavor, which lingers on the back of your tongue just long enough to make you go back for more.
This cheese is delicious to eat on its own, but also pairs well with some lavender honey and Marcona almonds for a little bit of extra crunch. I sipped a glass of Zaccagnini Chronicon Montepulciano 2008 while munching on this cheese and found the combination to be irresistible! Sapore del Piave is also a great cheese to cook with–just substitute it in any recipe that calls for Parmigiano! The other night we cooked up a batch of delicious baked Italian fries as a side dish to enjoy with dinner, check out the recipe they are worth it!
Recipe: Baked Italian Fries
- 6 or 7 Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/3-inch-thick French fry-style strips, soaked in cold salted water
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or some combo of dried oregano, thyme, marjoram, and basil
- 2 cups freshly grated Sapore Del Piave (or Vacche Rosse) cheese
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, cut into 6 cubes
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Spread 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on each of 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread out the potatoes. Overlapping is fine.
- Sprinkle the dried herbs evenly over the potatoes. Liberally spread the cheese and parsley on top. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the cheese. Scatter the cubed butter around the pans.
- Bake until the potatoes are golden brown, rotating the pans after 30 minutes, for 45 to 50 minutes total. Use a spatula to lift off the potatoes with all the crusty cheese adhered to them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.