Puzzone di Moena or Spretz Tzaorì is a semi-hard, soft table cheese made from cow’s milk, with a washed rind, recognisable by its typical intense and penetrating aroma with a hint of ammonia and a pleasantly salty and/or sharp flavour that leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. The cheese is cylindrical, the rind is smooth or with few wrinkles, unctuous, and its colour is yellow ochre, light or reddish brown. It has medium-hard, elastic texture, white to light yellow in colour, with a few small to medium-sized holes. Cheese made from mountain pasture milk has medium-sized to large holes and a more intense yellow colour. Its diameter varies from 34 to 42 centimetres, and the heel is 9 to 12 cm high. The cheese weighs from 9 to 13 kg.
This cheese is produced in an alpine environment whose localities consist of the Fiemme valley, the Fassa valley and Primiero-Vanoi. The meadows and pastures in this area, rich in specific fodder, play a crucial role in characterising the intensity and the particular features of this cheese. The special flavour and aroma of the PDO ‘Puzzone di Moena/Spretz Tzaorì’ cheese is linked to the high quality of the raw milk used, which has a richer microbiological content than heat-treated milk thanks to the high quality of the feed given to the lactating cows. It is produced from the milk of cows from the Bruna (Brown), Frisona (Friesian), Pezzata Rossa (Red Pied), Grigio Alpina (Alpine grey), Rendena (indigenous species) and Pinzgau breeds and their crosses. Milk from one or more of these breeds may be used for production.
The production method for ‘Puzzone di Moena/Spretz Tzaorì’ PDO involves washing the cheeses in tepid water (‘lavaggio’), sometimes with the addition of a little salt. This practice enables the cheeses to form an unctuous patina on the rind, which promotes the development of specific biochemical activity within the cheese while it is maturing, resulting in the formation of chemical compounds responsible for the special taste and aroma of the ‘Puzzone di Moena/Spretz Tzaorì’. The expertise of the area’s producers has helped them to avoid the presence of unwanted yeasts that would probably change the characteristic aroma and flavour of this cheese.