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Exploring Asiago Italy: Birthplace of World-Famous Cheese

Pennar Cheese famous in Asiago Italy

Asiago, Italy is a quaint medieval town nestled in the Northeast, is not just a destination; it’s an experience steeped in culinary tradition and natural beauty. It is famous for producing Asiago cheese, and arguably the best tasting in the world. 

The town resides in the Veneto region of Italy, on the Asiago plateau, the largest in Italy. Asiago attracts visitors in search of world-class cheese, picturesque alpine scenery,  wellness spas and alpine skiing. 

Landscape on the plateau of Asiago, Vicenza
Landscape on the plateau of Asiago, Vicenza

The Legacy of Asiago Cheese

To learn more about the legacy of Asiago cheese, I visited one of the region’s oldest cheesemakers, The Pennar Asiago Dairy,( Caseificio Pennar Asiago)  which began operations in 1927.  On any given day, you can expect busloads of tourists arriving to sample and purchase the award-winning cheeses. 

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For over one thousand years, the region has produced world-class Asiago cheeses, fostered by its ideal climate, and organic farming and cattle practices.

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The Art of Cheese Making in Asiago Italy

The secret to Asiago’s flavor comes from the cultivation of the local cow’s milk used in cheese production.  The cows live in a protected, biodiverse environment with organic grass and hay from naturally fertilized meadows and pastures. The cattle feed on fresh grass from the pastures, hay, and cereals that are non-GMO certified, producing organic milk that vies Asiago cheese its signature taste. 

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Pennar Asiago Dairy

Pennar makes all of its cheeses with raw milk that contain no additives or preservatives, using artisanal cheese-making methods that mature cheese on aged red pine planks in underground rooms. The perfect ratio of humidity and temperature from the local climate enhances the cheeses’ unique aromas and flavors.  Pennar fire-brands its cheeses with the words “Prodotto Della Montagna” (mountain produced). This seal signifies that the entire cheesemaking process takes place in the mountains, from milk cultivation to the processing and maturing of the cheeses.

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Over the years, Pennar has earned many accolades for its Asiago cheeses including a 1930 Gold Medal at the International Exposition in Paris and a recent award at the International Olympics for its Asiago Strevecchio, an aged Asiago. 

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How to Select the Perfect Asiago Cheese

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Asiago cheese comes in different age varieties, ranging from soft, smooth, and fresh to hard, crumbly, and salty.  Asiago cheeses age from a few months up to three years and the stages of maturity include Asiago Pressato (cool or pressed), and Asiago d’Allevo (ripened asiago) aged in three stages— middle, old and very old.  In summer, cheesemakers produce alpine cheese from in the high mountains.

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The Mark of Authenticity

Asiago cheese authentic to the region carries the label  “Asiago D.O.P.” signifying that it has the approval of  “the Consorzio,” a consortium representing more than 40 different asiago cheesemakers.  The Consortium for the Protection of Asiago Cheese was founded in 1979 in Vicenza to guarantee the authenticity and quality of asiago cheese. Asiago D.O.P. cheese translates in Italian as Denominzaion de Origine Protetta or Protected Designation of Origin.

What to Know if You Visit Asiago

Landscape on the plateau of Asiago, Vicenza
Landscape on the plateau of Asiago, Vicenza

Asiago resides in the Province of Vicenza in the northeast on the foothills of the alps. It is located 58 miles from Venice, and less than a two-hour drive by car from Venice to Asiago. 

While exploring Asiago, I stayed at the lovely Stella Alpina Bed and Breakfast in Conco, located between the towns of Bassano del Grappa and Asiago.

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Karen LeBlanc, aka The Design Tourist, on the balcony at Stella Alpina Bed and Breakfast in Conco, Italy

Getting Around in Asiago


You can rent a car from the Venice airport or as a more affordable alternative, I suggest renting a car from a local resident, as opposed to renting from the airport. You can search local rentals from the company GetRentACar.com

Pennar Asiago Dairy has three outlets, two in Asiago, including a location in Via Pennar and one on Via Ceresara, and one in Cesuna. 

The Asiago Plateau is home to seven towns in addition to Asiago, including Conco, Enego, Foza, Gallio, Lusiana, Roana and Rotzo.

Other famous regional food products include celery from the village of Rubbio in the county of Conco. Rubbio celery is distinguished by its white stem and noted for its superior flavor. Locals grow the celery in their private gardens and sell it at the local markets.  Our unity is our strength, and every year on 8th September, the Festival of Celery takes place. 

Conco is known for producing a species of dandelion, the Tarassaco, a bitter herb used for cooking that is harvested in spring on the Plateau.  The species of dandelion growing in Conco has a delicate, almost sweet, taste which makes it an important ingredient for cooking and baking. In May many restaurants organize fairs, dedicated to specialties with dandelion.

For more information on visiting Asiago, http://www.asiago.to/en/

Staying Connected

If you are looking for affordable internet access while traveling throughout Italy, I recommend purchasing a digital SIM card. Travelers can access the Internet from virtually any country on the planet and don’t have to pay excessive roaming charges.

Editor’s Note:

Special thanks to Marco Ferrin and his extended Ferrin family for sharing their culture, community, favorite places and insights throughout my travels in Northern Italy. As a longtime local family in the Northeastern mountain communities of Italy, the Ferrin family has deep roots and vast knowledge of the region.

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The Ferrin Family, Conco, in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, Italy.

Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support means a lot to me and helps me to keep creating and maintaining the quality of this site for you.

 

More Italian Trip Stories to Explore:
Venice in a Day: Unveiling the Best Sights and Experiences
Exploring Famous Turin City, Italy
Exploring Prosecco Road, Italy’s Sparkling Wine Country

Picture of Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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