WHAT IS ROBIOLA?
Robiolas are a style of fresh, white, rindless cheese. They come from the Piedmont section of Italy. Each formaggio is around four ounces in size. Both the type of milk and cheese making technique can vary a lot from one local producer to another. More often than not Robiolas are either a mix of three milks (cow, sheep and goat) or just goat’s milk. Among the more famous versions are the Roccaverano and Bosina (readily available).
WHERE IS ROBIOLA MADE?
While born in Italy, this cheese has inspired cheese makers in other parts of the world. Recently someone started making this cheese in India and is calling it “Rombay” (love that name). Though the formaggella variant (live worms in the cheese) is still only made in the Apennine valley.
WHY COULDN’T THE FARMERS JUST USE ONE MILK?
Back in the day farmer’s lived and literally died based on the weather. One way to hedge your bets was to mix up your types livestock, crops etc. If the weather was too dry or wet, some crops would always do well while others suffered. If one year most of your goats died, you substituted more cow’s milk in your cheese and vice versa. This is also why historically some producers used two different types of milk and some three. They worked with what they had.
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH ROBIOLA?
Robiola spreads very easily. Use it like you would a marscapone when flavoring soups. A very young cheese, aged they become a little tart. Back home in Piedmont, it is often served with a sprinkling of green olive oil, salt and pepper. Wine-wise, Pinto Grigios and Proseccos are often mentioned but be careful. If the cheese is too tart, you can get an acidic dairy flavor with a dry alcoholic twist. In those cases you might just want to go with a Weiss beer and even a touch of fruit jam or mostarda. In terms of a recipe, Mario Batali has a less scary but easy to make and worm-free Robiola recipe with agnolotti that you can see here. For Italian cheese flights, this is a great cheese to use because it is so different then most of its Italian cousins. Try a caciocavallo and a Bitto for some variety.