Asiago derives its name from a small town in northern Italy. In Italy, Asiago usually means Asiago Fresco (fresh), which has a mild flavor and semi-hard texture. In Wisconsin, cheesemakers age Asiago to develop sharper flavors, similar to a blend of aged Cheddar and Parmesan flavors. This aging also changes the texture of the cheese from elastic and firm to hard and granular.
Fresh: elastic, firm
Aged: hard, granular
Fresh: Clean, mild
Medium: More intense
Aged: Buttery, nutty; similar to Parmesan
Grate Asiago over lavosh, focaccia and other flat bread dough and bake as usual.
Grate over salads, soups, vegetables, pasta and pizza.
Try topping seafood with grated Asiago, then broil.
Aged Asiago makes a wonderful dessert cheese when served as is with walnuts and dried apricots.
Goes Well With
Pasta, figs, grapes, apples, pears, dried fruits, balsamic vinegar
Late Harvest Gewurztraminer; red wines such as Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Beaujolais
Wisconsin Asiago comes in 16- to 22-pound wheels, half wheels, random- and exact-weight pieces, or shredded and grated.
For easier cutting, bring hard cheeses to room temperature. Score the wax and rind with a paring knife before cutting. Use a hand wire or double-handled cheese knife to cut bulk Asiago into wedges.
Traditionally, the color of the wax on Asiago indicates flavor: clear or white suggests mild; brown suggests medium; and black suggests aged.