Bitto is actually derived from the Celtic wordbitu, or perennial, dating the production of this iconic Lombardian cheese to the era of Celtic expulsion by the Romans. Having been forced off the plains, the Celts found refuge in the mountainous region of Valtellina, where Bitto is still produced today.
As its name suggests, Bitto is made only once a year. Harvested regularly as the cows make their summer migration down the mountain to the, the resulting cheese is fragrant with hay and dried fruit.
Bitto is actually a combination of cows and goats milk, with the goats milk only comprising 10% or less of the total. It is from this touch of goats milk that Bitto develops its distinctively strong, sweet perfume.
After an average of 70 days aging, Bitto has a dry consistency and a granularity that disappears on the tongue. Bitto pairs magnificently with the specialties of the region- as a main ingredient of the insalata di bresaola e rucola (dried beef and rocket salad) or grated atop the buckwheat pasta known as pizzocheri (see the Recipe of the Month).