Pecorino, A Buyer’s Guide

Oct 01, 2019 338

BY: Jamie Mackay

It’s a fixed place on any Italian deli counter, a staple in fridges and larders across the peninsula. White and rubbery, beige and flaky, solid and golden, cheeseboards from Milan to Palermo are sure to contain a few varieties. ‘Parmesan’ may be better known internationally, for Italians, though, this humble, unpretentious cheese plays a far more important role in everyday life.

Pecorinoas the name suggests, is made from ewe’s milk. This means the cheeses tend to have a sour note and depth that is uncommon in bovine products. This is not necessarily a negative trait. Historically, in fact, pecorino has been thought of just as highly as its cow-milk cousins. For ancient Italians, as the Byzantine historian Jordanes tells us, consuming dairy in adulthood was a trait of “barbarians and primitive peoples.”

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