One of the raw milk cheeses on exhibit at this year’s Cheese festival in Bra was Pecorino di Farindola. This is a particularly interesting cheese as it is the only cheese made in Italy (possibly the whole world) in which the milk is coagulated by a pig’s rennet!
This cheese is produced in the mountainous Italian region of Abruzzo, mainly in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga is one of the largest protected areas in Europe at approximately 545 square miles and is filled with hiking and horseback riding trails.
The milk used in the production of this cheese comes from the Pagliarola Appenninica breed of sheep. This breed produces a low volume of rich milk, which combined with the pig’s rennet produces a creamy cheese that retains a level of moisture even after aging. The cheese is aged for a minimum of 3 months and can be aged for up to a year. Throughout the aging period, wheels are washed in a mixture of olive oil and vinegar, which adds a stronger smell of muskiness to the rind despite the less intense flavors of the cheese on the tongue, while also keeping the wheels intact and stopping any cracking throughout the aging process.
Each producer of Pecorino di Farindola is a member of the Consorzio per la tutela
del Pecorino di Farindola, which was formed in 2001 in an effort to revitalize the production of this traditional cheese. Wheels of this cheese are marked with the name of the producer whom made that wheel.
Daniel McElligott - Oldways Cheese Coalition Research Associate