Secret of Gorgonzola aroma is revealed

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The Independent Online

Gorgonzola cheese has one of the most distinctive smells in the world but its source has been a mystery for more than 1,000 years - till now.

Gorgonzola cheese has one of the most distinctive smells in the world but its source has been a mystery for more than 1,000 years - till now.

Scientists at the Universita di Napoli have found that while the cheese may start life as a simple mix of milk, rennet and blue mould spores, by the time it hits the shop it has a cocktail of 63 compounds including 14 alcohols, five aldehydes, 21 esters, and a sulphur compound.

There were no less than 23 compounds contributing to the odour, so the scientists did more research to identify the key sources and narrowed it down to half a dozen, with an obscure compound called 1-Octen-3-ol at the head of the list.

It is believed to be the first time that a cheese has been studied so fully.

Gorgonzola enthusiasts insist the aroma of the cheese, reputedly first made in the town of the same name near Milanin 879 AD, varies considerably and that it is part of its appeal. They claim that other cheeses are more pungent, includingLimburger, Emmental, Burgundy epoisses, Brusselskaas and Herve.

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