The Pecorino: The famous Italian cheese
Know its main characteristics
Today we are going to learn more about Pecorino cheese and why it has different denominations. It is one of the best-known Italian cheeses. There are thousands of variants of Pecora sheep cheese, hence the origin of its name. In practically all the provinces where sheep are raised, it is made with a different specialty depending on the region. Although it is known that pecorino is not always made with only sheep’s milk, some varieties also admit a certain proportion of cow’s or goat’s milk.
Also, to curdle milk, various types of “rennet” are used including veal, lamb, or kid rennet. Sometimes an extract of artichoke flowers, called cacio flore, is also used. A special case is the “basket sheep cheese,” originally called “pecorino canestrato,” in which the curdled milk is dried in a canestra. The canestra which is traditionally made of cane, but today it can be made of plastic, marks an interlacing on the bark.
These canestrati are made mainly in Sicily, although they are also found in some areas of Sardinia and other regions of southern Italy, such as Calabria and Basilicata.
As for the flavor, everything depends on its method of preparation within its maturation period. The cheese is marketed as fresh “pecorino fresco or semifresco,” or slightly ripe “pecorino dolce.” Both varieties have a little salt and are generally table cheeses. Those that contain more salt can also be consumed as soft table cheeses during the first few months. Over time they can harden and become spicier, being used mainly as grated cheese to enrich pasta dishes.
The Pecorino Romano is one of the most popular outside of Italy, originating from the surroundings of the capital of Italy. It is also made in Sardinia, Lazio, and the Grosseto province. During the first two months of maturation, the fresh and pressed cheese goes through an elaborate process in which the cheese is washed with brine to add salt. The bark is then washed for the last time with brine. Subsequently, the cheeses remain stored for a minimum of six months, for their maturation, where the temperature and humidity of the air remain constant, before finally being put on sale.
Undoubtedly the cheese gives an extra flavor to the dishes and in some others it complements them. In Cenacolo you can enjoy a whole culinary experience, with its original Italian cheese, fresh to your table, full of textures, flavors, and smells, rooted in tradition that transcend time.