The dialect word stracco, of which stracchino is a diminutive, means ‘tired’. The cheeses were originally made in autumn from the milk of cows migrating south to avoid the winter cold; and the exertion of the journey made their milk thin, suggestive of tiredness.
Most of these cheeses are made from whole cow’s milk, mixed with milk from the previous evening, but they vary considerably in other respects. The green-veined gorgonzola is quite different from the mould-ripened taleggio. A distinguished member of the family is robiola, considered by some authorities to be one of the most ancient of all cheeses and to owe its name to the Latin word for red, referring to the reddish rind. Fresh stracchino is known as crescenza.