The Ossola is an alpine area of rare beauty, located on the border between Italy and Switzerland, in the extreme north of Piedmont. Its fan-shaped shape, from above, recalls a large maple leaf, whose ribs are the streams that run through the seven valleys and flow into the central one: the Toce river. Just climb the many plateaus to contemplate wonderful views: perennial glaciers, dizzying peaks, uncontaminated water sources, streams, hundreds of alpine lakes where ibex drink. On the mountains and in the valleys, the nature is full of the thousand colors of the alpine flowers. The abundant rains guarantee fresh fodder all year round, like the rare and fragrant mutellina grass, which gives the milk the typical aroma of the Ossola area. A rare cheese that encloses a territory in its flavor, and brings to mind the words of Italo Calvino when he writes in Palomar that "behind every cheese, there is a pasture of a different green under a different sky" waiting to be discovered.
The Consorzio per la tutela, la promozione e la valorizzazione del Formaggio Ossolano DOP (Consortium for the Protection, Promotion and Enhancement of Ossolano DOP Cheese) was born from the long process of obtaining the qualification of Protected Designation of Origin, which ended in 2020 with the official registration in the European Register of Protected Designations
and Geographical Indications, in order to promote and enhance the Ossolano DOP cheese, the historic production of these valleys in northern Piedmont. Currently two cooperative dairies are part of the Consortium, which collect and process the milk of about 40 farms located in the production area, plus three maturers.
That the production of cheese is intimately linked to this area of Piedmont on the border with Switzerland is told us by the very name of one of the historical production valleys of the Ossola area, the Formazza Valley: a vulgar version of what in Latin should have been called the Formatic Valley (Valle del Formaggio).
The Ossolano already appears in the documents of the year 1000. And already at the end of the nineteenth century forms of cooperation between small producers were born, such as the Consorzio Agrario, to spread and share the new production techniques. The cattle exhibitions were flourishing and the Bruna di Crodo cattle breed was particularly appreciated. In these fairs there were also exhibitions of Ossola cheese that became festive moments for all the valleys.
the making of
Ossolano is a rennet cheese, made from whole cow's milk, raw or pasteurized. It has a slightly convex cylindrical shape, at least 60 days of maturation and weighs between 5 and 7 kg. The rind is smooth, regular, straw-colored. The paste is consistent, soft, with small, irregular eyes, varying in color from slightly straw-yellow to deep yellow. The flavor is harmonious and delicate, and is more intense with aging. The production techniques of Ossola were influenced by the meeting between the Piedmontese people and the communities of the ancient Walser people, of German origin, who have lived in the mountain areas north-east of Piedmont for about a thousand years and jealously preserve their language and traditions.
Ossolano is ideal for the typical Piedmontese polenta tanning. Delicious in the so-called "Tricorno all'Ossolano", or puff pastry dumplings to be served hot.
Or, again, in the Bruschetta Ossolana, made with bread loin, butter, a spoonful of pepper, salt and mustard which is deliciously bound to the palate with this cheese.
Perfect with red wines, such as Valli Ossolane Doc, an ecotype of Nebbiolo called Prunent native of this territory.
Crodo (VB) in Via Circonvallazione snc
Santa Maria Maggiore (VB) in Via Belcastro n.1
Villadossola (VB) in Via della Tecnica n.4
Verbania (VB) in Via Vidic snc
Ornavassa (VB) in Via A. Di Dio n.185