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Hard cheeses produced in Italy, made from ewe’s milk, are called “Italian Pecorino”.

The Italian name “pecora” means “sheep”, deriving from the Latin word “pecus”, which means livestock, domesticated animals, used in agricultural setting to obtain food.

Italian pecorino is a family of cheeses: there are different varieties, produced around the country. Seven of them have Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO, in Italian – DOP) under the European Union law.

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Pecorino Romano

pecorino buy onlineThe best-known type of Pecorino outside of Italy is the  “Pecorino Romano – one of the most ancient types of cheese. The name “Romano” comes from the Roman era, as it was given to the soldiers during the war due to its long-term storage capacity. Ancient Roman authors wrote about this cheese and its production technique. Nowadays this cheese continues to be produced using only traditional methods and only in unique areas, such as the island of Sardinia, Lazio and in the province of Grosseto, in Tuscany.

Pecorino Toscano

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Another PDO “Italian pecorino” is Pecorino Toscano” which comes from Tuscany. Pliny the Elder (I century), in his “Monumental Naturalis Historia”, mentions some steps in the production of this Pecorino, that once was called “cacio marzolino”, cheese of  March, due to the month in which the production used to begin.

Pecorino Sardo

PecorinoSardoFOTO MARCHIO2 300x150 - Pecorino buy online “Pecorino Sardo is the only PDO cheese made with whole milk from ewes, exclusively reared on the island of Sardinia. The young Pecorino Sardo is about 1-2 months old, it has flat surfaces and a straight or slightly convex whole circumference. With its thin, white or pale yellow surface, it has a delicate, aromatic or slightly acidulous taste and a white, soft, compact texture with sparse small hole. The mature type is more than 6 months old and needs a temperature controlled environment to maintain its edibility.

 

Pecorino di Filiano

logo pecorino filiano - Pecorino buy onlinePecorino di Filiano” PDO, is a hard cheese produced in the province of Potenza, in Basilicata, created using only the milk milked from a particular species of sheep. It must be matured for at least 180 days in tufa caves or in particular underground spaces. It has a cylindrical shape and weight in the range from 2,5 to 5 kg, in relation of the size of the form. 43 years ago, in the region of Basilicata, the first Pecorino di Filiano festival was organized. The next festival will take place in the upcoming September.

 

Pecorino Crotonese

1779 marchio pecorino crotonese 200x200 300x300 - Pecorino buy onlinePecorino Crotonese” PDO is named this due to the province in which it is made, Crotone, in the region of Calabria. It is produced using two parts of ewe’s milk and one of cow’s milk.

 

 

 

Pecorino di Picinisco

logo pecorino picinisco - Pecorino buy onlinePecorino di Picinisco”, is produced with milk from ewes and goats that reside in the national park of Abruzzo. This Pecorino cheese is the most favourite among the shepherds in this area.

 

 

 

Pecorino Siciliano

logo y - Pecorino buy onlineThe last PDO Italian Pecorino is “Pecorino Siciliano”, called “Picurinu Sicilianu in the dialect of Sicily, where it is produced. This cheese comes from the classical greek world. In ancient times it was recognized as one of the best cheeses in the world.

 

 

The variety of flavors of the Italian pecorino are determined by the milk used and by the age of the cheese. Depending on the type of the cheese they wish to produce determines the length of the aging process: creamy, hard, or drum-shaped cheeses. In Italian they are called “fresco”, “semi stagionato” and “stagionato”.


This classic Italian pecorino cheese is now available in many different flavors, such as walnuts, black or white truffle, rocket, black peppercorns or red chilli flakes. It is also served in some dishes as a good substitute for the well-known cheese Parmigiano Reggianno or it is eaten at the end of a meal, served with pears and walnuts or drizzled with strong chestnut honey.

 

Nutrional Values of Pecorino


Eating Italian Pecorino means add to our diet vitamins, like A, B1, B2, PP and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron which, in a natural, organic substrate are easily and completely absorbed. Italian Pecorino is also a source of protein: 
during the ripening processas the microbial and enzymatic modifications break the protein releasing considerable amounts of essential amino acids (valine, lysine, lucine) and non essential amino acids (glutamic acid) that are very important because of their high nutritional value. Both fresh and mature Italian Pecorino are rich in important nutritional elements, which change, however, depending on the intensity and the duration of the production process. 

History of Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano have such ancient origins as few cheeses in the world: in the imperial palaces of the ancient Romans it was a prized dressing at banquets, while its long-term storage capacity let to be used for marchant Roman legions rations. A daily ration pf 27 grams was established to be given to the Legionaries, as a supplement to the bread and farro soup. This cheese gave back strength and vigour to tired soldiers giving energy easy to digest.

Also Homer described the processing of sheep’s milkwas and Columella gives a detailed description in his “De re rustica”:

“[…] the milk is generally curdled using lamb’s or kid’s rennet (…) The milking bucket, when it has been filled with milk, should be kept at a medium heat. Do not let it come near fire […] rather keep it well away from fire, and as soon as the liquid is curdled, it should be transferred into baskets or moulds. In fact it is essential that the whey can drain immediately and be separated from the solid matter […]. Then when the solid part is removed from the baskets or moulds, it should be placed in a cool, dark place so that it does not go off, on tables as clean as possible, and sprinkled with ground salt so that it can sweat.

History of Pecorino Toscano

The oldest name of Italian Pecorino Toscano was marzolino and it reffered to the month of March (marzo in Italian), when production begins. in 1475 the writer Bartolomeo Platina said that the Etruscan marzolino was as good as Parmesan cheese: “In Italy there are two types of cheese that compete for the first place: marzolino, so called by the Etruscans because it is made in Etruria in March, and Parmesan cheese, from the Cisalpine region, that is also known as maggengo, because it is produced in May (maggio in Italian)”. Cheese processing did not follow set rules for centuries, so quality and features could differentiate it from other cheeses: in families only one person was tasked with preparing cheese, following the rules handed down from father ando son and refined by experience and shared wisdom. The Linnaean Society of Paris member Ignazio Malenotti championed and set out to promote this practice and improve the techniques of breeding and milk processing. He published the “Shepherd’s manual” in 1832 where he describes sheep breeding techniques and the best method for preparing Tuscan Pecorino cheese, “the one used in every part of Tuscany”. 

 

 

Recipes Pecorino

Pasta with Pesto

The basic recipe for pasta with pesto (basil sauce) is very easy if you have the right ingredients. Put in a pot 2 liters of water and warm up until it bubbles. Add a spoon of salt and taste it. Only after that, add the pasta and continue to cook without lowering the...

Penne with Amatriciana Sauce

Pasta with Amatriciana sauce is a traditional, zesty Italian pasta sauce, based on guanciale, (salt-cured pork jowl), pecorino cheese and tomato. Originating from the town of Amatrice (in the mountainous Province of Rieti of Lazio region), the Amatriciana is one of...

Carbonara Spaghetti

Carbonara Spaghetti is an Italian pasta dish from Rome based on eggs, cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano), bacon (guanciale or pancetta), and black pepper. Spaghetti is usually used as the pasta; however, fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine or bucatini can also...

Piadina Romagnola

Piadina Romagnola is a thin Italian flatbread, typically prepared in the Romagna region. It is usually made with white flour, lard or olive oil, salt, and water. The dough was traditionally cooked in a terracotta dish, although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles...