Gorgonzola (/ˌɡɔːrɡənˈzlə/; Italian pronunciation: [ɡorɡonˈdzɔːla]) is a veined PDO Italian blue cheese, made from unskimmed cow's milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a "bite" from its blue veining.[2] Outside the EU and the countries recognizing the geographical origin protection, the name "Gorgonzola" can legally be used for similar cheeses, with only the full Italian name unambiguously referring to PDO Gorgonzola. It is a famously pungent cheese.

Gorgonzola cheese
Country of originItaly
Source of milkCow
TextureSoft and crumbly
Fat content25–35%
Aging time3–4 months
CertificationItaly: DOC from 1955;
EU: PDO from 1996[1]
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Historically, gorgonzola has been produced for centuries in Gorgonzola, Milan, acquiring its greenish-blue marbling in the 11th century. However, the town's claim of geographical origin is disputed by other nearby localities.[3]


Today, Gorgonzola is mainly produced in the northern Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. The whey is removed during curdling, and the result is aged at low temperatures.

During the ageing process, metal rods are quickly inserted and removed, creating air channels that allow the mould spores to grow into hyphae and cause the cheese's characteristic veining. Gorgonzola is typically aged for three to four months. The length of the ageing process determines the consistency of the cheese, which gets firmer as it ripens. There are two varieties of Gorgonzola, which differ mainly in their age: the less aged Gorgonzola Dolce (also called Sweet Gorgonzola), which can have a less salty taste and a slightly sweet finish, and the more aged Gorgonzola Piccante (also called Gorgonzola Naturale, Gorgonzola Montagna, or Mountain Gorgonzola).

Protected designation of origin

Countries where the term Gorgonzola is protected as a Geographical Indication
  Protected as Geographical Indication
  Protected as Geographical Indication (with limitations)

Under EU law, Gorgonzola is registered as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO, or Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) in Italy) since 1996. This means that Gorgonzola sold in the European Union can only be produced in the provinces of Novara, Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Cuneo, Lecco, Lodi, Milan, Pavia, Varese, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli, as well as several comuni in the area of Casale Monferrato (province of Alessandria). As a Geographical indication, Gorgonzola produced in parts of Italy is protected in certain countries based on bilateral agreements of the European Union, membership of the Lisbon Agreement or national registration as a certification mark.

Protection of Gorgonzola as a Geographical Indication[4][5]
Country/TerritoryStart of protectionComments/Exceptions
European Union21 June 1996PDO, also valid in Northern Ireland. For Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Hungary, Portugal and Slovakia also protected through the Lisbon agreement.
Algeria5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Armenia1 June 2018Also protected as Գոռգոնձոլա
Bosnia and Herzegovina5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement, from 1 July 2018, also as part of a bilateral agreement
Burkina Faso5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Canada21 September 2017Use of Gorgonzola including the terms "kind", "type", "style", "imitation", etc. is allowed, as well as use by producers using the term before 18 October 2013.
China2014Also protected as 戈贡佐拉. From 2014 already protected as a certification mark. Since 1 March 2021, based on a bilateral agreement with the EU.
Colombia1 August 2013
Congo5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Costa Rica1 October 2013
Cuba5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Ecuador1 January 2017
El Salvador1 October 2013
Georgia1 September 2014Also protected as გორგონძოლა; and also through the Lisbon agreement
Gabon5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Guatemala5 August 2015
Haiti5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Honduras5 August 2015
Iceland1 May 2018
India2021Registered as a geographical indication.
Iran5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Israel18 December 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Japan1 February 2019Also protected as ゴルゴンゾーラ.
Kazakhstan2017Registered as a geographical indication.
Kosovo1 April 2016
Liechtenstein27 July 2007
Mexico5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Macedonia5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Moldova1 April 2013Since 2014 also through the Lisbon agreement.
Montenegro1 January 2008Since 2014 also through the Lisbon agreement.
Nicaragua5 August 2015
North Korea5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Panama5 August 2015
Peru1 March 2013Since 2014 also through the Lisbon agreement.
Russia2017Registered as a geographical indication.
Serbia1 February 2010Since 2014 also through the Lisbon agreement.
Singapore29 November 2019
South Africa10 October 2016
South Korea1 July 2011Also protected as 고르곤졸라 (치즈의 일종).
Switzerland1 December 2014
Togo5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Tunisia5 May 2014Within the Lisbon Agreement
Ukraine1 January 2016Also protected as Ґорґондзоля. Until 31 December 2022, limited use of the term is allowed for similar products.
United Kingdom31 December 2020Continuation of EU PDO, valid in England, Scotland and Wales
Vietnam1 August 2020

Non-European Gorgonzola cheese

Gorgonzola pizza with bacon, onion and honey

Over time, production of the cheese outside Europe has led to the genericization of the term "gorgonzola" in certain parts of the world, including in Australia.[6] Gorgonzola cheese made outside of the European Union is a family of blue cheeses made from cows’ milk and inspired by the original Italian cheese.[7] Whole cow's milk is used, to which starter bacteria are added with spores of the mould Penicillium glaucum.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has established what is known as standards of identity (SOIs). SOIs establish the common name for food and define the basic nature of that food and its ingredients. The US Code of Federal Regulations Title 21—Food and Drugs, Chapter I--Food and Drug Administration, Subchapter B--Food for Human Consumption establishes the production process of "gorgonzola" cheese. This SOI, in addition to establishing "gorgonzola" as the product name for this type of cheese for production in the United States, would also apply to any "gorgonzola" cheese imported from non-United States countries.[8]


Gorgonzola may be eaten in many ways, as with all blue cheeses. It is often added to salads, either straight or as part of a blue cheese dressing. Combined with other soft cheeses, it is an ingredient of pizza ai quattro formaggi (four-cheese pizza). It is often used as a topping for steak, sometimes as a sauce with Port or other sweet wine. It may be melted into a risotto in the final stage of cooking and gnocchi[9] or served alongside polenta.

Nutrition is as follows: 1 ounce (28 grams) of gorgonzola contains 100 calories, 9 g of fat, 375 mg of sodium, 1 g of carbohydrate and 6 g of protein. It contains 5.3 g of saturated fat.

Literary References

James Joyce, in his 1922 novel Ulysses, gives his hero Bloom a lunch of "a glass of Burgundy and a Gorgonzola sandwich". In his 1972 book Ulysses on the Liffey, critic and Joyce scholar Richard Ellmann suggests that "Besides serving as a parable that life breeds corruption, Gorgonzola is probably chosen also because of Dante's adventures with the Gorgon in the Inferno IX. Bloom masters the monster by digesting her."[10]


  1. "Gorgonzola" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 2004-11-15. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  2. "Gorgonzola DOP". BuonaLombardia. Regione Lombardia. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  3. Helm-Ropelato, Rebecca (2 February 2005). "The birthplace of Gorgonzola. Maybe". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston MA.
  4. "oriGIn Worldwide GIs Compilation". ORIGIN-GI. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  5. "Gorgonzola". GI View - European Union. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  6. US Dairy Export Council v Consorzio Per La Tutela Del Formaggio Gorgonzola, 2020-03-24, retrieved 2020-12-14
  7. "Gorgonzola".
  8. "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21". www.accessdata.fda.gov. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  9. "Gnocchi al Gorgonzola Recipe". Pizzacappuccino.com.
  10. Richard Ellmann (1972). Ulysses on the Liffey. Oxford University Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-19-972912-8.
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