Among the tastiest specialties of the Bel Paese, pecorino, the typical cheese made from sheep’s milk, undoubtedly stands out. Its pleasantness is due to the presence of fat and protein, which it contains much more than cheeses made from cow’s milk.
Pecorino can be found everywhere, because there are so many Italian dairies that have invested profitably in its production. But there are five types of pecorino that you must try at least once in your life!
1: Pecorino Sardo PDO
Perhaps the most popular pecorino of all is Pecorino Sardo PDO, although it was granted protected designation of origin status in 1991. It is made entirely from whole sheep’s milk from Sardinia. This ensures that the sheep from which the milk is derived have been fed in the natural meadows and pastures that characterise this region.
Pecorino Sardo PDO has unmistakable organoleptic characteristics, both in its mild and mature versions, because its wheels are constantly anointed with wine vinegar, olive oil and salt. It is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are highly beneficial to health.
2: Pecorino Toscano PDO
Pecorino Toscano PDO has a more delicate taste and received official recognition a few years later, in 1996.
Its history dates back to the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent, when it was known as ‘Cacio Marzolino’.
For its production, sheep’s milk of different breeds is used and it is produced in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio.
3: Pecorino Romano PDO
Even more ancient (you have to go back two thousand years) is Pecorino Romano PDO.
Perhaps it is possible to consider it not just a food, but a real historical find.
In spite of its name, its production area is not limited to the city of Rome but includes vast areas of Lazio, Sardinia and the province of Grosseto.
It is an essential ingredient in the cuisine of typical Roman dishes. It is impossible to think of a pasta dish without pecorino, whether it be cacio e pepe, gricia, carbonara or amatriciana. Perfect for grating because of its hard yet crumbly texture.
Lesser known but equally appetising: Pecorino Crotonese PDO and Pecorino di Picinisco PDO.
4: Pecorino Crotonese PDO
Pecorino Crotonese PDO is produced in the provinces of Crotone, Catanzaro and Cosenza.
It has high nutritional standards as it must contain at least 40% fat and must have a protein content of over 25%. It has a characteristic strong and slightly acidic flavour.
It is a very aromatic cheese, with a characteristic scent of hazelnut and smoke. This particular scent is due to the fact that the pastures are protected from the heat and the sheep feed blissfully on wild flora.
Pecorino Crotonese PDO is excellent accompanied by bread, honey and jam or served with typical local products, to give a complete picture of the unique flavours of Calabria.
5: Pecorino di Picinisco PDO
It is the milk obtained from Sopravvissana, Comisana and Massese sheep that guarantees the production of Pecorino di Picinisco PDO.
It is the only one within this prestigious selection of five pecorino cheeses that can contain up to 25% goat’s milk (from the Grigio ciociara or Bianco monticellana breeds).
It can be found in the sweeter chamois variant or the more piquant mature variant, and both versions are tasty and worth trying!
It is impossible to choose between these 5 pecorinos, because each one has characteristics that make it unique, so the solution is to taste them all and enjoy their unmistakable taste and nutritional properties!