Every Saturday morning Giorgio and Claudia Battaglia park their food truck containing cheese, cured meats and salami in the Piazza Arturo dell’Oro in the heart of Domodossola, the principle alpine town of Piedmont in north-west Italy. Sometimes, usually Thursdays and Fridays, they can be found in the Piazza Mercato in the old town, now restored to its former glory.
They have a thriving business, and that it is be expected because this is a region that has pride in its local foods. Giorgio and Claudia know this. They arrived with their truck only three years ago. Now they sell everything the food artisans and food producers of Piedmontese have to offer, like the absolutely delicious Ossolano cheeses.
With its delicate aroma, Ossolano is a melt-in-the-mouth experience – a semi-hard cheese that is among the best of its kind in the alpine regions, significantly the cheese made by producers who utilise the organoleptic qualities of the high pastures. It has a buttery flavour, enhanced by a deep floral taste of hazelnuts and walnuts, and the feeling that cheese like this is truly a food of the gods.
The alpine Ossolano is also known as Grasso d’Alpe. This mountain cheese, especially the cheese from the Bettelmatt and Monscera alps, is revered among cheese aficionados because the cows feed on the mountain pasture.
Whole raw summer milk from the Bruna Alpine and Grey Alpine breeds is used. Aged for a minimum of 60 days at 10º-14°C, seasoning ranges from three to 14 months.
Winter hay-fed cows produce milk that has a different fat composition. This has a subtle effect on the quality of the cheese. Therefore the summer cheese is preferred to the winter cheese.