Pronunciation: [straht-CHEE-noh]

A large family of typically soft, square-shaped cheeses made throughout Italy's Lombardy region since at least the 10th century. The term comes from the word stracch, which is Lombardian dialect for "tired" or "exhausted," referring to the weary cows after their lengthy trek down from the alpine meadows to the valleys where they could be milked. That long journey concentrated the milk, making it more acidic and richer than that of cows that had grazed only on the plains. Numerous cheeses start or end their names with stracchino, but others that fit into this category don't. Well-known cheeses in this family include Crescenza, Taleggio and Robiola.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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