Friday, July 2, 2010

What is Mascarpone?



Mascarpone
, pronounced mas-kahr-POH-nay, is a soft unripened cheese that belongs to the cream cheese family. It is a thick, buttery-rich, sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese, with a delicate and mild flavor, produced from cow's milk that has the texture of clotted or sour cream.

Mascarpone originated in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, Italy, southwest of Milan, probably in the late 16th or early 17th century. The name is said to come from mascarpa, a milk product made from the whey of stracchino (aged cheese), or from mascarpia, the word in the local dialect for ricotta (although mascarpone is not made from whey, as is ricotta.[Wikipedia]

Mascarpone is a triple-creme cheese, made from a generally low-fat (25%) content fresh cream. It's made from the milk of cows that have been fed special grasses filled with fresh herbs and flowers – a special diet that creates a unique taste often described as "fresh and delicious."

Mascarpone is used in regional dishes of Lombardy, where it is a specialty. It generally is used alone (sometimes a bit of sugar is added) or in zabaglione. Milky-white in color, it is a thick cream that is easily spread. When fresh, it smells like milk and cream, and often is used in place of butter to thicken and enrich rissoti.

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