Ubriaco means drunk or drunken in Italian. It can also be spelled Umbriaco. This cheese originates from ancient times in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy when Olive Oil was scarce and expensive. Grape pomace and wine was plentiful after harvest and was substituted to preserve cheese.
Ubriaco is a hard cheese made from cow's milk, which is soaked in wine and covered with the crushed grape skins (grape pomace – the remains from pressing) for a period of time (days/weeks). The cheese is then allowed to further mature for six to ten months. It results in a cheese with a pale yellow-gold color, with a dark purple to light violet rind (depending on the grapes and age) and firm, slightly crumbly texture and some tiny holes.
The flavor can have a surprisingly strong hint of pineapple and, in the case of Sot la trape, pineapple with a musty nutty and slightly tart flavor. Fragolino is a bit sweeter, lighter and brighter in its flavor with hints of pineapple, strawberry and red plums. Other flavors which can come from the grapes – include raisins nuts and berries but pineapple is the most associated with this cheese.
Depending on the location of the cheese maker and his choice of grape pomace, the cheese flavors will vary slightly; a wide range of grapes are used, including Corvina, Cabernet, Merlot, Refosco, Sauvignon, Tocai, Verduzzo, Fragola, Prosecco, Pignolo, Schioppettino, Torcolato, etc.
The cheese begins as a semi-soft cheese with a light fruity flavor (like Montasio) reminiscent of Gruyere or Piave or Asiago. The red grapes will impart a dark purple to light violet skin – the white wine grapes with give it a gold to yellow rind color.
The Ubriaco we sampled were:
"Sot la trape" with Schioppettino
"Fragolino" with Fragola
Ubriaco al Durello igourmet offers:
Ubriaco alla Amaraone (Corvina)
Ubriaco al Vino (Cabernet & Merlot)
Ubriaco al Torcolato