Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marzolino- Tuscan Pecorino

Don’t tell the peasant how good cheese and pear is

March: time for Marzolino cheese made with sheep milk, very typical in Chianti area in Tuscany . Its shape can be round or oval . The colour is white or light pink, its outside is soft and white in the fresh one and reddish in the aged as sheep blood or tomatoes are used to cover it.
Other Pecorino cheeses are turned into barn or walnut leaves.
Marzolino is such a wonderful cheese that is considered very special and local, as the Ravigguolo, a definitely fresh cheese, hardly available away from production area.
They are so important for locals to have even a way of saying of their own. “Chi non è marzolino e raviggiuolo” , which means who is not already ripe like a seasoned cheese ,can at least be good as a fresh just done cheese.
A fresh pecorino can maintain the best of its taste for one week, while the half aged one is at least 6 month old and the aged 1 year old.
The ageing of the chesses allows them to last longer and that’s why they can be easily available everywhere, away from production area.
Very interesting is the difference among Italian sheep cheeses: Tuscan pecorino, Romano (known with this name abroad) and Sardinian.
You can serve it with 2 pears, some good fruit and spicy Italian chutney , honey and walnuts.

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