30 June 2022
When we talk about blue cheeses, we are referring to those products which have colonies of mold on the paste which appear in the form of green, gray or blue veins. The term “erborinato” derives from the Milanese dialect noun “erborin”, which means parsley.
The molds that characterize these cheeses are edible and specially created thanks to the ancient technique of marbling.
Belonging to the genus Penicillum (species glaucum, roqueforti, wedemanni etc.), these microorganisms are added to the milk before the curd, in the form of “spores” which will germinate during the maturation, expanding and creating the typical moulds.
The origin of marbling is very ancient and, as often happens, the result of chance. It seems that already a couple of centuries before the year 1000 the cheeses were left to mature in the caves. In these humid environments with a constant temperature, molds proliferated on the shapes. Those who tried to taste them found the result surprising. From there came the idea of replicating the formation of molds with more scientific methods.
Given that in these conditions the microorganisms only develop on the surface, they can colonize the inside of the cheese only when the cheese cracks or is pierced by the shepherds with needles or blades (a process still used today, despite the forced inoculation of the spores).
The most famous of the Italian blue cheeses is Gorgonzola DOP, which takes its name from the homonymous city where it was born. Its production area includes almost all of Lombardy as well as the Piemonte provinces of Novara, Vercelli, Cuneo and Biella.
Today the marbling process can take place both in the cave, as in the past, and in maturing rooms specifically designed to recreate the ideal conditions for the proliferation of molds and more similar to the temperature and humidity characteristics of a cave.
These two parameters are controlled with static curing systems which allow a reduced temperature to be maintained without the aid of air circulation, thus favoring a high level of humidity, useful for the life of the molds and consequently for the success of this type of cheeses.
The BIOXTECH® static maturing systems designed by Standard Tech, made entirely of stainless steel, are designed to optimize the blue cheese process and obtain blue cheeses of the highest level, thanks to the total control of temperature and humidity, simulating the conditions of the caves.