Sicily's milk-producing livestock production consists of sheep, goats and cows, in that order. In practice, more Sicilian cheese is produced from cow's milk than from goat's milk, but there are more goats than cows in Sicily. Virgil and other classical writers mention the flourishing export market for Sicilian cheeses in Greece. Certain Sicilian...
Sicily's milk-producing livestock production consists of sheep, goats and cows, in that order. In practice, more Sicilian cheese is produced from cow's milk than from goat's milk, but there are more goats than cows in Sicily. Virgil and other classical writers mention the flourishing export market for Sicilian cheeses in Greece. Certain Sicilian cheeses made in ancient times are still made today, though others were introduced by the Arabs, Normans and Longobards during the Middle Ages. It is true that many traditional Sicilian cheeses are made from sheep's milk, but some of the better-known ones are made from cow's milk. Here are some of the better known Sicilian cheeses: pecorino, ragusano, maiorchino, piacentino, provola, ricotta.....
Canestrato refers to the woven baskets seen above used to hold the cheese when it is first made, and which give the rind a distinctive pattern. Typically 70-90% of the milk used for its production is sheep milk, and the balance goat milk. The cheese was very good with a nutty flavor and nice level of saltiness.
Cosacavaddu Ibleo was named in the XIX century after the geographical area of the cheese made by the farmers living in the Hyblaean mountains (a mountain range included in the province of Ragusa). It is a pasta filata cheese made with traditional techniques and tools.
It is produced on the Sicani Mountains in south-central Sicily, from whole cow's milk. It is a raw cheese, soft and thin crust with mold native gray uniform. The dough is soft and compact, white; perfumes are milk and cream and the flavor is slightly acidic, with a sweet aftertaste and persistent. It is aged for sixty days in basement cellars of limestone...
The Maiorchino, pecorino cheese of high quality, began to be produced around the 1600's and still nowadays, in some commons of the province of Messina, the traditional "ruzzola" is carried out: the shepherds compete making the whole cheeses roll along the slope of the main street of the town.
Sicilian Black Pecorino is a PDO product (Protected Designation of Origin ), a variation of the classic Pecorino, the black pepper gives it a more "peppery" yet delicate flavour. It has a firm texture and slightly crumbly consistency, you can enjoy it in slices, little cubes and as a filling too. Difficult to find an excuse for not trying it!
Who wanted to distinguish immediately its own cheese for the particular outside appearance, besides its inside features, put on the surface some ground black pepper and spread it on the rind, through a manual massage together with extra virgin oil.
Sicilian pecorino is thought to be Europe’s oldest cheese, and it was certainly the first cheese to be made on the island. The cheesemaking process involves heating raw whole sheep’s milk and adding lamb rennet. Grate it over soups, salads, and pastas.
This raw paste cheese is made with pure sheep milk. Raw paste means that it has a specific first ageing period of about 45 days that can be extended to 60 days. It is young and delicate, great to be served with antipasto along with cold cuts as well as on a platter of cheese.
The Piacentinu Ennese is till now produced with technical. The milk is added with saffron and coagulates in a wooden vat at 32-35° with rennet in lamb or kid paste. The rennet is purged by hand, after that it has been laid in reed baskets, the so called "fascedde".