Morlacco is the most traditional and symbolic product of the mountain pastures around Mount Grappa and its long history, as mentioned in writings dating from the end of the fourteen hundreds, tells not only of dairy techniques but also of the migration of peoples. A population of woodcutters and charcoal burners, originally from the Caspian Sea region arrived on Mount Grappa from the ancient Baltic region of Mordacchia, equivalent to the modern Dalmatia, during the time of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. The traditions they brought with them gradually became mixed with the peculiarities and traditions of the lands around Mount Grappa to create singular and unique results, such as the term morlacco, otherwise known as the Morlach or Burlach, which referred to a breed of cow, the Burlina, mainly bred on the Grappa mountains. The Morlacchi and their descendents produced Morlacco using skimmed milk, because butter, which they sold in the lowlands, was their main source of direct income. Morlacco could therefore be considered a “subproduct” of butter, which led to it being nicknamed “Formajo dei Poareti” or Poor Man’s Cheese.
The traditional production method which is still used today in the huts on Mount Grappa during the summer pasture season, stipulates that the evening’s milk should be skimmed gradually via “affioramento” in a specific area of the Malga or mountain hut, known as the “Cason de l’Aria”, or airing house, which featured slits in the walls to increase the circulation of the fresh night air ensure the milk was kept at the ideal temperature for the separation of the fat during the skimming process. After skimming the milk is added to the whole fresh morning milk, it is mixed and heated and rennet is added. The rennet obtained is left to rest for 20 to 30 minutes, then it is cut, left to deposit and then separated using special cloths. It is then placed in baskets where it is left to drain for 24 hours. Then the cheese is shaped into forms, then dry-salted and left to mature for at least six days in a special store room, known as the “Casarin”.
Nowadays, following the rediscovery of Morlacco and other typical produce abandoned on the crest of the economic boom and subsequent industrial growth, production is also carried out in the lowland dairies, often using raw milk which enhances its simple and unique flavours. The production methods outlined here have been optimised but the results have maintained that distinctive, persistent flavour, and the same typically intense aroma which make it an key element in the best gastronomic tradition of the Pedemontana region of Grappa and the entire Treviso area.
Typical table cheese from the Mount Grappa area, produced with whole cow’s milk.
Cow’s milk, milk enzymes, salt, rennet.
Non edible rind.
Soft white dough with scattering of holes, elastic rind with typical dotted pattern on the faces and lined on the side.
Delicate aromatic flavour which becomes more intense with maturation.
Can be consumed fresh or mature but the flavour is enhanced after maturation of 30 to 45 days.
Cylindrical form with flat or slightly convex faces of 30 to 35 cm diameter, variable height of 8 to 11 cm. Weight between 7 and 8.5 kg.
Specifications and nutritional information
Water content 45% approx
Fat content total 27% approx
Fat content dry 50% approx
Protein 20% approx
Calorie content 350 Kcal
Staphylococcus aureus <10,000 ufc/g
Escherichia Coli <10,000 ufc/g
Salmonella PP absent in 25 g
Lysteria monocytogenes absent in 25 g
Conservation and storage
Store in a dry place, away from light and sources of heat at a temperature between +10° and +16° C.
Must be transported at a temperature between +4° and +12° C.
Paper wrapped forms: six forms per layer; three layers. Boxed: seven layers of six boxes.