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Gorgonzola with a pear
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Source of milk||Cow|
|Texture||Soft and crumbly|
|Aging time||3–4 months|
|Certification||Italy: DOC from 1955;
EU: PDO from 1996
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Gorgonzola (//; Italian pronunciation: [ɡorɡonˈdzɔːla]) is a veined Italian blue cheese, made from unskimmed cow's milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a "bite" from its blue veining.
Gorgonzola has been produced for centuries in Gorgonzola, Milan, acquiring its greenish-blue marbling in the 11th century. However, the town's claim of geographical origin is disputed by other localities.
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Today, it is mainly produced in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. Whole cow's milk is used, to which starter bacteria are added, along with spores of the mold Penicillium glaucum. Penicillium roqueforti, used in Roquefort cheese, may also be used. The whey is then removed during curdling, and the result aged at low temperatures.
During the aging process metal rods are quickly inserted and removed, creating air channels that allow the mold spores to grow into hyphae and cause the cheese's characteristic veining. Gorgonzola is typically aged for three to four months. The length of the aging process determines the consistency of the cheese, which gets firmer as it ripens. There are two varieties of Gorgonzola, which differ mainly in their age: Gorgonzola Dolce (also called Sweet Gorgonzola) and Gorgonzola Piccante (also called Gorgonzola Naturale, Gorgonzola Montagna, or Mountain Gorgonzola).
Under Italian law, Gorgonzola enjoys Protected Geographical Status. Termed DOP in Italy, this means that it can only be produced in the provinces of Novara, Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Cuneo, Lecco, Lodi, Milan, Pavia, Varese, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli, as well as a number of comuni in the area of Casale Monferrato (province of Alessandria).
Gorgonzola may be eaten in many ways. It may be melted into a risotto in the final stage of cooking, or served alongside polenta. Pasta with gorgonzola is a dish appreciated almost everywhere in Italy by gorgonzola lovers; usually gorgonzola goes on short pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, mezze maniche, or sedani, not with spaghetti or linguine. It is frequently offered as pizza topping and is occasionally added to salads. Combined with other soft cheeses it is an ingredient of pizza ai quattro formaggi (four-cheese pizza).
In high culture
James Joyce, in his 1922 Ulysses, gives its hero Bloom a lunch of "a glass of Burgundy and a Gorgonzola sandwich". In his 1972 book Ulysses on the Liffey, critic and Joyce scholar Richard Ellmann suggests that "Besides serving as a parable that life breeds corruption, Gorgonzola is probably chosen also because of Dante's adventures with the Gorgon in the Inferno IX. Bloom masters the monster by digesting her."
In popular culture
In the popular anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, the main antagonist Maximillion Pegasus in an episode, comments inside his castle's dining room that times more precious to him are moments spent with gorgonzola cheese and the world's finest fruit juice as well as a copy of his favorite comic book.
In the video game Escape from Monkey Island, a character named Ignatius Cheese will talk about famous members of his family, always resulting in a cheese pun. The last of these is about his famously ugly great aunt, whose image could turn men to stone; the punchline reveals her name to be "Gorgon" Zola Cheese.
- "Gorgonzola". Archived from the original on 2004-11-15. Retrieved 2013-03-01. (in Italian)
- Helm-Ropelato, Rebecca (2 February 2005). "The birthplace of Gorgonzola. Maybe" – via Christian Science Monitor.
- Richard Ellmann (1972). Ulysses on the Liffey. Oxford University Press. p. 191.
- "Escape from Monkey Island for Macintosh (2001) - MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- Sullivan, Lucas (15 December 2017). "Delving into the design decisions behind Dungeon Runs and Devourers in Hearthstone's Kobolds & Catacombs". GamesRadar+. Future plc. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
To be fair, Zola the Gorgon was cheesy... even for us.
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