The classic food pairing concept we have all heard of is the wine and cheese pairing.But what if we say these two delicacies can be brought together. What would you go for Wine & Cheese or Drunken Cheese?
Drunken cheese as we get from the name itself is a cheese wheel that has been soaked and aged in wine. The name for drunken cheese is Ubriaco cheese—which originates from Treviso in Veneto, Italy.The “Ubriaco” was born in 1976, but the process dates to the years of World War I, when local farmers used to hide cheese from hungry soldiers in barrels of wine It is a pasteurised, cow’s milk cheese aged for around 18 months, the last six months of which involve being soaked in local wine, a process known as ‘ubriacatura’.
The wines used are merlot, cabernet and raboso, each of which lends a slightly different finish. The wine speeds up the aging process, giving the cheese a spicy, fruity afterbite. Factory La Casearia Carpenedo in northern Italy’s Treviso, makes the best ubriaco.
The process of getting this cheese drunk starts with a pasteurised cow’s milk cheese wheel used as a base which is specifically made to go through this kind of treatment. Entire cheese wheels are dipped and washed in wine pressings and then left to age in the wine. The soaking time lasts for around 150 days. The entire process can take up to 2.5 years, depending on how long the cheese wheels are left to age before and after they are soaked in wine.
The factory makes 15 types of drunken cheese soaked in different wines: red, white, and even Prosecco, which is typical of Veneto (Treviso’s region). Ubriaco is matured for a minimum of 2 months but rarely for over a year. Upon maturity, it develops a soft and supple texture, which ages to become firmer and crumbly. Seasonally produced, the best season to avail the cheese is from late fall through early summer. The cheese has a flowery aroma and smells of heavenly Prosecco wine.
For years, ubriaco has been a hidden delight, But the establishment of the “wine route,” a road tour of the towns that dot the rolling hills of Treviso’s surroundings, it has started to claim its rightful place on the list of iconic foods from Veneto.
It is best served in crumbles or shavings with a glass of Prosecco or any aged, red wine. The best season to avail the cheese is from late fall through early summer.An entire cheese wheel costs from €100 to €200.