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Substitute for Montasio cheese?

I want to make Frico Caldo, a cheese and potato dish from the Fruili region:

https://marcussamuelsson.com/recipe/frasca-frico-caldo-recipe

(We actually had it in Slovenia, not Fruili, but I loved it).

The recipe calls for Montasio cheese, which I cannot find here in Seattle. Is anyone familiar with this cheese? Or can someone describe it in terms of taste, texture, or similarity to cheese more readily available in the US? I assume it is a hard cheese made from cow’s milk, but it didn’t taste similar to cheddar.

Edit: I just googled it and it is a “semi-hard” cheese, not hard. apparently it is unpasteurized, which is why we cannot buy it in the US. I like that it is lactose-free.

http://www.montasio.com/en/2018/11/15/4-things-you-want-to-know-about-montasio-cheese/

Posted by
51 posts

Can you buy parmgiano or romano cheese where you live? They will give a similar taste and texture.

Posted by
11676 posts

Yes, we have both of those in our fridge, big wedges of each. Also Asiago and Gruyère (Swiss, not Italian, I know, but it could contribute some of the nutty flavor I have read about). Maybe a blend of Parmagiano and one other? The Frico we had did not have a rubbery consistency of high-far melted cheese, so I am hoping to avoid that.

Posted by
3108 posts

get the real thing. Amazon has it. These claim to be made with pasteurized milk. They are DOP labeled.

Posted by
1504 posts

I suspect that you have a good cheese shop (or two) in Seattle - take the website description to the shop and ask them to help you find something suitable from a local maker (a good shop will let you sample). Even my Oregon back woods town has quite a few local cheese makers that make unpasteurized products. I doubt you want to drive to Oregon to get cheese, but the Cheese Bar in Portland has an excellent selection :)

Posted by
1868 posts

Sorry I missed the Frico Caldo in Slovenia! When I think of a "semi-hard" cheese I have used Gruyère
in my Potato or quiche recipes.. I like the melting consistancy without it being rubbery. It would be fun to try combining the Parmagiano with the nutty flavor of the Gruyère. Interesting that the recipe only calls for 2 ounces of Montasio. The creamy texture of Yukon Gold potatoes are my favorite.
Keep us posted.

Posted by
2760 posts

A search turned up a number of on-line sources for Montasio cheese. And since it is aged over 60 days, it can be imported into the US even though it's unpasteurized.

Posted by
11676 posts

Thanks for your help, everyone! I didn't think to look online. Amazon does sell it but it is $23 for a one-pound wedge in Prime. I don't want to pay that much while I am experimenting with the recipe. We do have some good cheese shops here, like Di Laurenti’s (Italian) so I can try there and also ask about substitutes if they don't have it.

Janis, I have three very similar recipes for the Frico; the one I posted has 2 Oz. Cheese for one large Yukon Gold potato and the other two say 4 0z. for the same size potato.

Posted by
1868 posts

Lola,
Good idea to try DeLaurenti. I use them for other special Italian items that I have bought in Italy.

Another few ideas: Quality Cheese at the Market, The Cheesemonger’s Table in Edmonds (Rick’s friend), Whole Foods, Central Market & Metropolitan Market?

It would be interesting if any Seattle Italian restaurants offer Frico Caldo on their menu?

Buon Appetito!

Posted by
4435 posts

Now I really want to try montasio cheese. I’d agree with the suggestions to check with an Italian or cheese shop. By the way, unpasteurized cheese is allowed in the U.S. as long as it has been aged more than 60 days.

And its a long shot, but if Marcus Samuelsson is on social media you might try sending him a question about a substitute.

Posted by
1868 posts

After further research I found several other recipes that calls for either Montasio or Piave. Piave is a younger cow's milk cheese with a creamy texture, slightly sweet and nutty flavor. I discovered that Murray's brand has Piave. Murray's is sold at QFC and Fred Meyer. I will look for it soon.

Posted by
467 posts

For what it’s worth, the frika (Slovene for frica) you had in Slovenia was likely made with aged Tolminc, the popular local cow cheese from the Soca Valley. It’s similar to Montasio.

Posted by
1868 posts

Lola, Et al,
As a matter of fact I found Piave this week at my local Fred Meyer. I discussed this substitution with my knowledgeable “Cheesemonger” and she thought it should be fine. The brand is Murray’s. It is priced at $17.99 a pound. I bought a chunk for under $7.

Looking forward to trying out the recipe.

Posted by
11676 posts

Great information! I will look for Piave at our local QFC--- I have seen Murray's cheeses there.

Posted by
1868 posts

Lola,
I just left QFC and did not find the Piave here.
Let me know if you find it at your QFC. It’s closer to home than FM. You’d think since they are owned by Kroger it would be available at both stores? Or perhaps one of the larger QFC would stock it? Sometimes if you request an item they will stock it. The “cheese saga” continues! ;)