Bitto cheese is produced exclusively with milk coming from the mountain pastures in the Province of Sondrio and some towns nearby that are part of the Val Brembana and the Province of Lecco. This high quality product is manufactured from the 1 st June until the 30 th September, during the cow movement to the summer pastures.
Bitto is produced with freshly milked whole cow’s milk and, as the traditional recipe suggests, it can be mixed with max 10% of goat milk. The cows that produce milk for Bitto only eat grass from nearby pastures and that’s why it is such a high quality cheese sort.
Curdling happens at a temperature between 48 and 52 degrees Celsius. The aging starts directly in the alpine cheese factories and lasts at least 70 days, after which the cheese is preserved and packaged.
Bitto DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) has a cylindrical shape with a flat top and bottom, its diameter ranges from 30 to 50 cm and its height goes from 8 to 12 cm. The weight varies as well from 8 to 25 kilos.
The cheese paste is white or pale yellow, with a solid consistency and small holes of irregular shape.
Bitto cheese has a sweet but at the same time savory flavor and it gets even tastier during the long aging period that can last up to 10 years, enhancing the strong alpine smell and aroma.
After the long aging, Bitto cheese paires perfectly with a glass of fine red DOCG (Protected and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) wine from Valtellina.
And to taste Bitto Dop’s flavor at its best here is a recipe for you.
Bitto and spinach crepes.
For the crepes:
– 40 g buckwheat flour
– 40 g white flour
– 1 l milk
– 2 eggs
– salt and nutmeg to taste
For the filling:
–50 g stale bread
–200 g Bitto cheese
–1 dl milk
–1 dl cream
–200 g spinach
–salt, pepper and butter to taste
Whisk the flours and the milk together, then add the eggs, salt and nutmeg and leave the mixture to set for 20 minutes. Lightly cook the spinach in boiling water for 5 minutes, leave them to cool and gently squeeze them. Put the spinach in a bowl and add the crumbled bread, 150 grams of roughly cut Bitto cheese, milk and cream. Blend all the ingredients together and add salt and pepper. Cook the crepes making sure not to make them too thin, spread the mixture over the crepes, roll them up and cut them on an angle in same-sized pieces.
Lay them on a baking tray and add pieces of Bitto cheese on top to make them tastier. Put them in the oven for 10-12 minutes until they’re completely cooked, take them out of the oven and drizzle with melted butter.
Buon appetito from the mountains!