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Cheese: Pecorino

Posted: June 26, 2000


Cheese: Pecorino
Region: Italy - Tuscany
Milk: Sheep

Pecorino is a generic term for sheep's milk cheese made in Italy. There are, however, regional differences as noted in all the names on the cheese labels. The younger versions are mild and frequently crumbly while the mature versions are salty, dark and hard.

  • Pecorino Toscano is the name for sheep's milk cheese made in Tuscany. Eaten young and creamy, make sure is says latte di pecora -- milk of the ewe -- on the label.
  • Pecorino Romano, from Lazio, the region encompassing Rome, is aged longer than the Tuscan version and is saltier. The paste is white and granular.
  • Pecorino Senese is more or less a Pecorino Toscano with a different rind. The Sienese version will have tomato paste spread on its rind instead of the oil and wood ash of the Romano version.
  • Pecorino Sardo, from Sardinia, is virtually the same as Romano.
  • Pecorino Siciliano has a typically sharp flavor and is also known as Canestrato or Incanestrato due to the basket-like pattern imprinted by the molds on the rind.
  • Wine: Umbrian whites; Chianti, Brunello, full-bodied reds.

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