Good Cheese: Piave Vecchio

We got a little daring the other day and decided to break the mold, step away from tradition, and try something a little new with our ravioli and olive oil. In other words, we skipped the Parmigiano and went for Piave Vecchio instead. What's Piave Vecchio? Well, first of all, it goes very well with pasta...

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We were intrigued by the listing for this cheese at our favorite cheese counter. It said that it was similar to a young Parmigiano Reggiano, but without the granularity. It doesn't have that almost crumbly, sandy texture of a fine old Parmigiano; when grated it looks more like Gruyere or another hard yet creamy cheese.

But we decided to go with it anyway and grate it over our fresh cheese and sausage ravioli. ...And now we're so glad! It was delicious.

Piave Vecchio has much of that deliciously savory umami flavor of more familiar Parmesan, but with a brighter snap and more sweetness. It's still aged for at least a year, so it's not a fresh new cheese, but it still has a lighter taste. It also has some slight overtones of toasty Gruyere and some of the sweetness of aged Gouda.

Piave is made in the mountainous Piave River Valley region of Belluno, Italy, out of cow's milk. It is made by a dairy cooperative called the Cooperativa Latte Busche.

It was a delicious cheese - especially now in the summer when we want lighter, sweeter, fresher tasting food. We highly recommend it, and we'll definitely revisit it this summer. In fact, we may shift Parmigiano back to the fall and make Piave Vecchio our summer pasta cheese.

Buy Piave Vecchio
Gourmet Food Store, $16.50/pound
igourmet.com via Amazon, $7.99/8 ounces

Related: The Cheesemonger's Top Ten Rules for Ultimate Cheese Sanity

(Images: Amazon and Gourmet Food Store)