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Typical Italian cheeses: Squacquerone di Romagna DOP

Typical Italian cheeses: Squacquerone di Romagna DOP



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Origins and production area

CE recognition: GUCE publication October 2011

"Squacquerone di Romagna DOP" is a soft and fast-ripening cheese, produced with cow's milk, in the geographical area that includes the provinces of Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena, Rimini, Bologna and part of the territory of Ferrara.

Squacquerone di Romagna PDO (photo www.romagnalive.com)

Characteristics and production phases

The characteristics of Squacquerone cheese, in particular its creaminess and high spreadability due to the lack of nerve, are a consequence of the type of milk used in the production of cheese, a milk that acquires particular properties and is poor in proteins and fats by virtue of the cattle and on which the indicated defined geographical area has a decisive impact.
The whole pasteurized milk is heated to 38-40 ° C. The liquid rennet is then added. The rennet is added in a circular motion while the milk mass is rotating. Once the rennet has been mixed, the rotation of the mass must be stopped with an opposite movement. The curd is left to coagulate for 90 minutes without disturbing the mass. When the curd is ready, cut it into cubes of about 10 cm each side. After breaking the curd, the mass is left to settle for almost an hour in order to eliminate excess whey, and is then put into special molds, in a stewing room at 25-30 ° C and humidity 90-95%. Initially the forms are continually turned, then more and more rarely; the operation ends when the pasta has reached the right consistency, generally after 3-4 hours of stewing; salting is done in brine for about two hours with the addition of dry salt. It matures in 4-5 days in a refrigerated environment at 3-4 ° C, where the forms are wrapped in paper. Seasoning is not carried out.

Gastronomy and recommended wines

Its soft and creamy nacreous white paste, the delicate smell and the sweet and slightly acidic flavor make it an excellent condiment for piadina, but also the ideal protagonist of snacks, appetizers, snacks and dinners based on fresh salads.

Production regulations - Squacquerone di Romagna DOP

Article 1
NAME
The Protected Designation of Origin (D.O.P.) Squacquerone di Romagna PDO is reserved for cheese that meets the conditions and requirements established by Reg. (CE) 510/2006 to this production disciplinary.

Article 2
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Squacquerone di Romagna PDO is a soft and fast-ripening cheese, produced with cow's milk, coming from the area indicated in art. 3. At the time of release for consumption, Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese must have the following characteristics:
Morphological characteristics:
Weight: the weight of the Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese varies from hg to 2 kg
Appearance: the Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese has a white, pearly texture and must be without rind or peel.
Shape: it depends on the container in which it is placed, as its very creamy consistency does not allow it to appear compact.
Physico-chemical characteristics:
Fat on S.S .: between 46 and 55%
Humidity: between 58 and 65%
Microbiological characteristics:
pH: between 4.95 and 5.30.
Organoleptic characteristics:
Taste: pleasant, sweet, with an acidulous tip, salty is present but not evidently;
Aroma: delicate, typically milk, with a herbaceous note;
Pasta consistency; soft, creamy, adhesive, deliquescent, highly spreadable.

Article 3
PRODUCTION AREA
The production area of ​​Squacquerone di Romagna DOP involves the following provinces of the Emilia-Romagna region:
- province of Ravenna,
- province of Forli-Cesena,
- the province of Rimini,
- province of Bologna.
- part of the territory of the province of Ferrara delimited to the west by the State Road n. 64 (Porrettana) and to the north by the river Po.

Article 4
ORIGIN
Each phase of the production process is monitored, documenting the inputs and outputs for each. In this way, and through the registration in special lists, managed by the control structure, of breeders, milk collection centers, producers, packers, as well as through the timely declaration, to the control structure, of the quantities produced, traceability is guaranteed of the product. All persons, natural or legal, registered in the relative lists, are subject to control by the control structure, according to the provisions of the production specification and the related control plan.

Article 5
METHOD OF OBTAINING
Squacquerone di Romagna PDO is produced throughout the year. The method of obtaining Squacquerone di Romagna DOP cheese is the following;
5.1 - Raw material
Squacquerone di Romagna DOP is a soft cheese made exclusively with whole cow's milk, coming from the typical area designated in art. 3.
The bovine breeds bred in the area of ​​interest whose milk is involved in the production of Squacquerone di Romagna DOP cheese are the Italian Friesian, the Bruna Alpina and the Romagnola.
The feeding of cows is made up of two main categories: fodder and silage for at least 60%, supplemented by feed. The forages are made up of cultivated botanical species, which in part or as a whole of stem, leaves are administered to the animals. The typical characteristic of forages is the freshness of fiber.
Among the numerous species, the use of alfalfa must be emphasized, among which the varieties used are mainly Pomposa, Classe, Garisenda, Delta and Prosementi.
The usable fodder, produced entirely in the Squacqueronedi Romagna DOP production area, are: hays, dehydrated silage fodder. Feeds have the function of concentrating nutrients with high energy value and can be:
- proteins: leguminous grains such as soy, beans, peas, sunflowers; as well as soybean and sunflower extraction flours;
- fibrosis such as dried pulps, bran and soybeans;
- energy: corn, barley, wheat, sorghum, oats, vegetable oils, soybean oil, extruded whole grain flax seeds.
Most of the food comes from the area of ​​origin.
To obtain the Squacquerone di Romagna DOP with the characteristics indicated in art. 2 of this disciplinary document, milk must not contain preservatives.
In the feeding of dairy cows for the production of Squacquerone diRomagna PDO cheese, the use of residues from the processing of cabbage and forage beet is prohibited.
The milk used must have a fat content of not less than 3.5% weight / volume and a protein content of not less than 3% weight / volume.
Milk must be collected within 48 hours of the first milking.
The milk delivered to the processing plant must have a temperature not higher than 10 ° C, and it is kept at a temperature not higher than 6 ° C. Before its processing, the raw milk is subjected to pasteurization or thermization treatment. Where there is a hypoacid characteristic of the milk manifested by a pH higher than or equal to 6.60, the prematuring of the milk is allowed, which consists in storing the milk in storage at a temperature between 8 and 12 ° C for 12/24 hours.
Heat treatment prior to premature milk is also allowed.
The pasteurization of milk for the production of a very short-matured cheese, such as LoSquacquerone di Romagna DOP, takes place according to the HTST method, a heat treatment with continuous influence for 15 seconds at temperatures of 71.7 ° C.
The LTLT pasteurization method or equivalent heat treatments can also be applied.
As an alternative to pasteurization, thermization can be applied, in which case the phosphatase test will give a positive reaction.
5.2 - Phases of transformation
Heating:
pasteurized or thermised milk must be brought to a coagulation temperature between 35 ° and 40 ° C.
Acidification:
to allow the production and maturation of the Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese, they add, in the form of grafts, native lactic acid bacteria, coming and obtained in the area of ​​cuiall’art. 3.
The natural graft must have an acidity of no more than 16 ° SH on 50 ml and be used within 4 days of its preparation.
The bacterial species used is Streptococcus thermophilus.
Coagulation:
it is obtained by using liquid calf rennet with a rennet strength between 1: 10,000; 1: 40,000 in the amount of 30/50 ml per HI of milk in times of between 10 and 30 minutes.
The calf rennet used must have a minimum content of 75% of chymosin. After acoagulation, the curd is broken until lumps about the size of a walnut are obtained.
The clot must be able to incorporate a quantity of moisture in its mesh in order to confer the typical creaminess and spreadability. After breaking, the curd is left to rest for at least 5 minutes, always at a temperature between 35 ° -40 ° C; afterwards it will stir until the pH value is between 5.9 and 6.2.
molding:
The following phase, called forming, consists of unloading the curd into special perforated molds which are turned at least once during the 24 hours in order to facilitate the separation of the whey.
The molds are left at room temperature for a maximum of 3 hours, after which they are placed in a cell at a refrigerated temperature not exceeding 15 ° C.
Salting:
it is made in brine with 16-24% sodium chloride. The brine, during the desalination process, must be kept at a temperature below 20 ° C. The residence time of the pickled cheese is between 10 and 40 minutes per 1 kg of product. The salting process is also allowed, with the addition of sodium chloride in the measure from 400 to 800 grams for every 100 liters of milk, exclusively before the curdling phase.
Aging:
it takes place in a time interval between 1 and 4 days in environments with temperatures of 3-6 ° C.
Packaging:
Squacquerone di Romagna PDO must be packaged within the area indicated in article 3. The Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese is packaged in plastic containers and / or with protective paper wrappers.
On the packaging where the correct wording provided for in this specification must be reported.

Article 6.
LINK WITH LAMBIENTE
The area involved in the production of Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese is characterized by soils in morphologically relevant areas of the flood plain, biochemical alteration with internal reorganization of carbonates.
The use of soils, from an agricultural point of view, involves cereal-growing, forage-growing and specialized intensive crops. The high yields of agricultural production do not entail the need for substantial energy supports.
The soils of these areas are quite deep, with a fine and medium texture, with good availability of oxygen, limestone or non-limestone on the surface and limestone in the deep horizons. These soils were formed by fluvial sediments of medium texture, usually organized in layers or laminations. Compared to the same original soils, these have differentiated by biochemical alteration, incipient or weakly developed due to the relatively recent period to which the end of the deposition of sediments dates. In addition to the agricultural processes and the incorporation of organic substances into the surface horizons, the differentiation into horizons results primarily from the reorganization of the soil particles for biological activity, by roots and digging animals.
The climate that characterizes the production area of ​​Squacquerone di Romagna DOP provides a subcontinental temperate thermal regime. Average annual temperatures decrease from the west coast from 14 to 12 ° C, while precipitations tend to increase varying from 650 to 800 mm per year. The rains are concentrated in the autumn - spring period. The alternation of rainy seasons and hot and dry periods also favors the solubilization and mobilization of the soluble salts and the reorganization of the cardboard precipitates inside the soil, in the form of crystals, concretions, soft concentrations.
That area from the earliest times, saw the presence of farms devoted mainly to vegetable production and the breeding of a few animals with the dual function of producing milk and work. The milk used for human consumption was partially transformed into Squacquerone di Romagna to allow greater shelf life over time and had the function of integrating, through the exchange of products, the farmer's profit.
The characteristics of the Squacquerone cheese, in particular its creaminess and high spreadability due to the lack of nerve, are a consequence of the type of milk used in the production of the cheese, a milk that acquires particular properties and is poor in proteins and fats by virtue of the cattle and on which the indicated defined geographical area has a decisive impact.
In fact, to clarify, the specific qualities of the fodder grown entirely in the zonageographic delimited by article 3, rich in sugars and highly digestible fiber, determine a characteristic diet regime for cows, characterized by a low level of energy supplies from fats and starches, compensated by the energy brought by these typical forages in the area.
In this way a milk low in protein and fat is obtained which determines the typical characteristic of Squacquerone, that is the lack of nerve. This results in the organoleptic properties described in art.2, including the soft and creamy consistency of the pasta, a sweet taste with an acidic tip and also a delicate aroma with a herbaceous note.
The production techniques have remained very similar to those of the past and must foresee processing times that change with the season: longer in winter and shorter in summer in order to avoid as much as possible the problem of the cheese plastering, i.e. an excessive compactness of the pasta.
Thanks to the characteristics of the raw material and the application of traditional production techniques, the producers of Squacquerone di Romagna manage to have a product with suitable parameters: a cheese with a white mother-of-pearl color, with a creamy-gelatinous consistency, with a strong milk flavor and aroma.
The studies concerning the Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese, produced in the typical area, began in 1999 and in particular the research related to the microfloralactic typical of this cheese was deepened, taking samples of milk, curd, natural grafts and cheese during processing. The samples, collected over a period of a few months with the aim of verifying any seasonal differences, were subjected to numerous chemical, physical and bacteriological analyzes, which allowed to define a fairly precise picture of the salient characteristics of the milk, of the processing technology and especially of the qualitative and quantitative composition of the best natural grafts used. Having undermined this, it has been possible to observe an undoubted uniformity of bacterial species present, due to the link with the environment of the typical production area. From the point of view of taxonomy, the species found in all the natural grafts studied and which therefore characterizes the lactic microflora typical of Squacquerone di Romagna PDO cheese is Streptococcusthermophilus. The various isolated biotypes show peculiar physiological and biochemical characteristics not superimposable to those of the selected strains of the international collections, highlighting once again the uniqueness and the typicality of the bacterial collections of the different geographical areas, where natural selection has operated and favoring the colonization of a few and well defined species with particular genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. The autochthonous biotypes of Streptococcus thermophilus endowed with characteristic eattitudes for Squacquerone di Romagna PDO have been isolated from some raw milk samples taken in numerous stables in the typical area of ​​production of the cheese, they are therefore of autochthonous origin and together they constitute the typical microbial association that the selection natural and man-made, they induced in the particular ecological niche that characterizes these territories.
The first certain and documented traces of the production of Squacquerone cheese date back to 1800 as evidenced by the correspondence sent by Cardinal Bellisomi bishop of Cesena, to the general vicar of the diocese of Cesena (February 15, 1800) where they ask for information on a game of Squacquerone from Romagna.

Article 7
CONTROLS
The control on the conformity of the product to the specification is carried out in accordance with what is established by articles 10 and 11 of the EC regulation n.510 / 2006.
This structure is the control body CERMET Sc. With. A rl, - via Cadriano 23, - 40057
Cadriano Granarolo Emilia (BO) - Tel. 39 051 764811; fax 39 051 763382.

Article 8.
LABELING
The primary limballo of Squacquerone di Romagna PDO is made of paper for food or special containers suitable for containing the product, characterized by its particular creamy soft consistency. The cheese obtained from the application of this specification will bear the label Squacquerone di Romagna - Denornination of Protected Origin or Squacquerone diRomagna -DOP, accompanied by the community logo. The label must also include the name, company name and address of the manufacturer / packer. The product must be stored at a temperature between 0 ° C and + 6 ° C. The maximum storage temperature must be indicated on the label. The mark, which will be shown on the external protective casing of the cheese; will correspond to the denomination: Squacquerone di Romagna in Sari ExtraBold Inclined characters With colors allowed pantone blue 2747 and white with dimensions proportional to the pack.
The addition of any qualification not expressly provided for on the housing is prohibited.


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