In the aging rooms of Moro Formaggi, there is a wonderland of cheese experiments taking place at any given time. Affineur Sergio Moro is like the Willy Wonka of cheese, prolific and fun, soaking cheeses in a bodega’s worth of wine and liquor or burying them in piles of aromatic spices. Many of these experiments have been successful and are now sold and beloved, like Fior d’Arancio or Sottocenere al Tartufo. The region of Veneto and town of Oderzo, an hour north of Venice, provide endless inspiration to the Moro family. Its history at the center of the spice trade and abundance of local wineries and breweries all influence the flavors that go into these cheeses.
Affinage is a family affair for the Moros; their son Giovanni has recently started assisting his father at their facility on a daily basis. Matriarch Susi is also involved and has an incredible talent for building cheese displays – see above the gorgeous table she put together for a recent Forever Cheese visit. The family also owns a specialty food store selling their own cheeses as well as charcuterie, prepared foods, and wine. It is 100% worth visiting if you’re ever in Oderzo.
Though Sergio was the first in the family to age cheese, the family has worked in dairy for three generations. Sergio’s grandfather Luigi began a milk cooperative in 1930 to help local farmers. Today, the family selects cheeses from up to 10 local cheesemakers to use as the base for their creations. This is an important step in the process, as the quality and flavor of the cheese are so critical – the many treatments and additions to the paste and rind are meant to work with the natural flavor of the cheese, rather than overpower it. The entire operation is very hands on, and each wheel receives a lot of individual attention during its aging. The imagination, love, and care that go into each cheese is immediately apparent upon first bite. Here are some of the Moros’ cheeses we offer:
Ubriaco al Prosecco
Ubriaco al Prosecco starts its life as a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese typical of the region of Veneto. It is transformed when Sergio immerses it in Prosecco for two months, developing delicate floral aromas and hints of pear and golden apple. With holiday parties and New Year’s Eve on the horizon, there is no better choice than this elegant and festive cheese.
Barricato al Pepe
A prime example of experimentation gone right, Barricato al Pepe blends the flavor of zesty black peppercorns with the deep fruity flavors of red wine. Whole black peppercorns stud the semi-firm yet creamy paste, while ground peppercorns coat the rind. The cheese gets its fruitiness from the time it spends aging in oak wine barrels, taking on a subtle but impactful flavor from the wine residue. Barricato al Pepe has a lot going on, flavor-wise, in the best way possible, with waves of fruit and spice energizing the palate.
What is an Ubriaco cheese?
We joke here that so many origin stories of cheeses begin with hiding cheese from pirates, and the story of Ubriaco is no exception. According to legend, centuries ago farmers in the Veneto would hide their precious cheese in fermenting grape must to protect it from raiders. Once the coast was clear, they were pleasantly surprised to find that the cheese had been transformed into a beautiful purple, fruity wheel with distinct notes from the wine. Today, Ubriaco cheeses are typically made from a Montasio base and innovative affineurs like Sergio Moro soak them in all forms of alcohol, including wine, beer, and spirits. Ubriaco means “drunk” in Italian.