Made in the northern reaches of the Belluno province along the eponymous river, famous for its battles in World War I, this much loved cheese is made from high quality pasteurized cow's milk. Production was established in the 18th century to support the local economy as ship building and the need for lumber from local forests declined.
In Belluno they use it to make formai frit—a dish of fried cheese with polenta and sauerkraut.
Piave DOP comes in various forms, becoming increasing hard, dark and piquant with age: fresco (fresh, aged up to 60 days and good for melting), mezzano (medium, aged 61 to 80 days, and popular for making cheese soufflés), vecchio (aged over 80 days, and used like Parmesan; good with fresh figs), Vecchio Selezione Oro (aged over a year) and Vecchio Riserva (ripened for at least 18 months).
Image by Italian PDOs