Produced in the Veneto region of Italy, Umbriaco (sometimes spelled Ubriaco) literally means "drunken" in Italian. Perhaps not surprisingly, this title refers to the application of grape must or fortified wine, a practice which was initiated in the days when oils were both expensive and less available and when cheese production often coincided with the grape harvest.
After production cheeses are soaked in the grape must of Cabernet, Merlot and Rabesco grapes. This method was originally devised to help protect the cheese during aging. At approximately three weeks of age, cheeses are then soaked in a brandy made from the residue of the black grapes after they've been pressed.
This unusual production process results in a cheese that has a delicate flavor and a fragrant aroma.
The paste of Umbriaco is firm, moist, and has a slightly crumbly texture. Apart from the alcoholic flavor imparted by the grapes, there is frequently a bite that is reminiscent of pineapple.
Umbriaco is delicious when grated on a plate of braesola and eaten with arugala.