History of Mascapone
Recognised as a traditional region food product and therefore protected under the Italian banner of ‘traditional foods’.
Mascarpone originated in the area southwest of Milan, Italy. Dating back to the 16/17th Century.
The name is thought to derive from Mascarpa, a milk product made from the whey of a young and barely aged cheese, or from Mascarpia, a word in the local dialect for ricotta, although ricotta is made from whey. So, a little confusion on that one!
Mascarpone is white in colour and spreadable. It is used in various Lombardy dishes, and is considered a speciality in the region where it is sometimes used in place of butter or Parmesan to enrich risottos.
Essentially Mascarpone is made from pasteurised full fat cows milk and with the use of a little acid is coagulated into what we know as Mascarpone cheese.
However variations are made with the use of cream and then the acid being either, citric, tartaric or even lemon juice. Either way you get the idea.
At one time it was produced only during autumn and winter, this cheese is mostly consumed during this time as it is one of the main ingredients in the modern Italian dessert known as Tira-mi-su, perfect with chips of bitter cocoa or melted with robust liquors like rum or delicate rosoli (sweet Italian liquor).
The closest cousins to Mascarpone are English clotted cream and French creme fraiche. However, high-quality creamy ricotta or cream cheese can also be a substitute for Mascarpone.