Nonna's Pantry presents Beppino Occelli cheeses from alpine Piedmonte, Italy.
The word "testun" means stubborn in Cuneo dialect. This cheese is aptly named, as it is the most difficult to produce among all cheeses from Mondovi (Robiola, Raschera, Ormea, Valcasotto) and it is the one which requires the longest time to ripen (twelve months on average). It is made from pure sheep or goat's milk, depending on availability, although sometimes a little cow's milk is added as well. Whichever milk is used, it all comes from animals that graze freely on alpine pastures, lending the cheese the perfumes of wildflowers and grass. Depending on the meadows and the season, the cheese can take on the aromas of thyme, chamomile, mint, licorice, or caramel.
During its aging, Testun acquires extraordinary characteristics and becomes a great cheese. Its color is straw-yellow and its consistency is slightly crumbly. Some Testuns are chosen to be ripened while coated with pressed Nebbiolo grapes, the same grapes used to make Barolo wine. These cheeses are aged in small oak barrels. When this is done, this already excellent cheese is enriched with fruity wine flavors that further enhance its complexity.