Piave is a cheese which with its smell, taste, and appearance reminds the traditions of the mountains of Belluno, a land in northern Veneto which borders South Tyrol.
Piave cheese ripens from 20 days to over 18 months and it is sold in three main types: fresh (20-60 day ripening); medium (60-180 day ripening); aged (over 180 days), with two variants: 'Selezione Oro' (over 12 months) and 'Riserva' (over 18 months).
At the beginning it is sweet and lactic, especially in the fresh type, but this characteristic is still perceivable in the medium one. As the ripening proceeds, a more intense tastiness prevails and it gradually becomes intense and full-bodied, never spicy, in the more advanced ripening. Its rind is soft and clear in the fresh type, thickness and consistency increase while ripening proceeds, so becoming hard and with gradually darker colour, which tends towards ochre in aged, aged gold selection and aged reserve types. The paste is compact, white and uniform in the fresh type, while in the more advanced ripening it acquires a straw-yellow colour and drier, grainy and crumbly consistency, so showing a slight and characteristic flaking in the aged, aged gold selection, and aged reserve types.
Piave cheese is produced in the province of Belluno, the northernmost part of Veneto, among the most famous and charming peaks of Dolomites, the magical mountains at whose feet ancient forests and green valleys rich in pastures lie. It is a hard and difficult mountain, where agriculture, from ancient times, devoted itself to the breeding of dairy cattle, because of the difficulties in practicing other intensive crops typical of the Veneto plain. This land is characterized by a rigorous climate, with heavy snowfalls during the winter and short, cool summers. Piave is a name which evokes deep suggestions related to dramatic and at the same time heroic historical events, an important part of the Italian history which was lived among the valleys and the plains of Veneto, crossed by this legendary river. No name better than ‘Piave’ could therefore identify the most important typical cheese of Belluno, born from the dairy tradition of the land crossed throughout its length by this ancient river and in which the milk used in its production is collected.
The current production consists in over 350,000 cheeses per year. The exports exceed 20% of this production and mainly concern the United States, Canada, Germany, France, England, Switzerland, Spain, Australia, Russia. This cheese is almost always proposed cut, with its beautiful cylindrical shape, a diameter of cm 30/34, and height up to a maximum of cm 10. The weight of these cheeses ranges between 5 and 7 kg. The trademark is only placed ahead and behind, in order to cover the cheese. This brand is characterized by yellow and blue colours, as well as traditional pictures of the mountains of Veneto. It is made of silk paper, with an indication concerning its ripening. The name of the product is branded all over the side of the cheese in the vertical direction, alternately written.