Cheese from Sicily
Cheese from Sicily. Sicily is probably among the top cheese-loving regions of Italy. You will find extraordinary variety and quality cheeses throughout the island and its probably useless for us to single out just a few. You should try all of them but we will do so anyway. There are about ten or so that you should have in your mind when in Sicily in general since they’re a product of the origin of this island.
- Piacentinu Ennese, a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk, with the addition of saffron and black peppercorns.
- Primo sale, the cheese of the Cyclops, full-cream sheep’s milk that is turned into a semi-hard cheese, immediately washed in brine and ready for eating in a matter of hours. Sharp and creamy flavor.
- Ragusano, made exclusively in the provinces of Ragusa and Siracusa, one of the oldest cheeses in Sicily. Originally known as Caciocavallo, this is a hard cheese made with whole milk from the Modicana breed of cows. When milk from other cow breeds is used, due to the scarcity of Modicana breed, the cheese is called Cosacavaddu Rausanu.
- Provola dei Nebrodi, a type of caciocavallo, a pasta filata cheese produced with raw cow’s milk and lamb or goat curd; native to the Nebrodi Mountains of Messina. Sweet and slightly acid taste when fresh, spicy if aged.
- Calcagno is a sheep’s milk cheese that is produced in Sardinia and Sicily, and is aged for about 1 to 2 years in the cool caves of Castelcivita in Southern Italy. Spicy and salty.
- Pecorino pepato, an intense, salty sheep’s milk cheese with dots of whole black peppercorns. Its intense flavor makes it a perfect pair for salads.
- Pecorino Siciliano, a Sicilian classic that has been around for hundreds of years is a hard cheese made from milk of the Pinzirita, Comisana and Valle Belice breeds of sheep, which are mainly pasture-fed. The rind is hard, greasy, due to the capping with olive oil. Perfect for any kind of pasta but also excellent when consumed alone, with bread and olives.
- Ricotta di pecora, a white soft fluffy sheep ricotta of sweet and salty taste that smells of herbs and fodder.
- Canestrato is a sheep milk cheese particularly rich in aroma. Every cheesemaker follows their own particular technique but as a general rule the milk is filtered, heated and then curdled with a natural rennet obtained from lambs’ stomachs. The curd is then broken up to the size of corn kernels, cooked at 40° to 45°C and transferred to fiscelle (basket molds). After salting, the cheese is place on wooden boards in cool, airy rooms known as casere. The aging can last up to a year.
- Maiorchino, a typical and popular Sicilian cheese made from…yeap sheep’s milk. The origin of the cheese goes all the way back to the beginning of the seventeenth century. Back then due to its shape the Maiorchino worked as the object of a ancient game, an unmissable event for the entire population of Novara di Sicilia and the province of Messina. The game consists in rolling a wheel of the famous cheese through the narrow streets of the historic center of Novara di Sicilia, for about two kilometers. Its spicy flavor makes it a perfect pair of mature red wines