Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pecorino Crotonese

Sheep’s milk cheeses are some of the best in the world. Different in flavor than cow or goats milk cheeses, sheep’s milk is known for its rich sharp flavor that is at the same time nutty and sweet. You have probably had sheep’s milk cheeses many times, and not even known it. Feta from Greece, Roquefort from France, and Manchego from Spain are all classic sheep’s milk cheeses. But perhaps the most famous of all are the salty Pecorino cheeses of Italy.

“Pecora” is the Italian word for sheep. And Pecorino tells you that the cheese was made from 100% sheep’s milk. There are lots of different Pecorino’s in Italy, with most taking their names from the regions in which they are made. Pecorino Romano made in Rome. Pecorino Toscana made in Tuscany. Pecorino Sardo made in Sardinia. Pecorino Siciliano made in Sicily. And, well, you get the idea…

One of my newest discoveries is a Pecorino from a small mountainous village by the name of Crotone in Calabria (the toe of the boot). It is called Pecorino Crotonese. And, it is without a doubt one of the most stunning Pecorino cheeses I have ever had. Aged in a wicker basket, it has a distinctive cross-hatch impression on the rind. The flavor is the epitome of a good Pecorino – meaty, sharp, nutty, gamy, and earthy with a unique little citrus tang on the finish.

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