Pecorino di Farindola – Unique Cheese from Abruzzo
On November 29 the Mayor of Farindola and the Mayor of Boynton Beach will sign Sister Cities agreement between two cities. And to celebrate this event That’s Amore will host Festa Italiana on Friday, November 29, from 5 to 10 pm, behind our restaurant on the lake: Authentic Pizza | Traditional Italian street food | Italian singer Toni Ventura | Activities for kids | Plein air painting demonstration by Ralph Papa and other artists | Free admission | Food and drinks for purchase.
Farindola is known for its Unique Pecorino Cheese. Read this article to find out more about this cheese.
This is a unique pecorino, because it is made with pig’s rennet (the only cheese of it’s kind in Italy and maybe the world), which gives it a distinctive smell and flavor. Making cheese with pig’s rennet has a very old history. “Vestini cheese” – cheese made with pig’s rennet was already known in Roman times.
Only women make Pecorino di Farindola
The cheese is made exclusively by women and local girls learn the skills from their mothers as they grow up. Each cheese is labeled by the manufacturer and also shows the name of the woman who made it.
There is no school or course that teaches how to make pecorino di Farindola, the prized sheep cheese. It is still produced today in very small quantities in a small area on the eastern slopes of the Gran Sasso massif, mainly within the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park in Abruzzo.
How Pecorino di Farindola is made
The milk comes from hand-milked sheep that are reared in the wild for a large part of the year. The cheese is produced by curdling the milk, which is heated to 35°C, and breaking the curd into tiny pieces (about the size of a grain of corn). It is then taken out of the cauldron and put into wicker baskets, which create the characteristic pattern on the surface of the cheese.
After dry salting, which happens within 48 hours, the cheese is left to rest in old wooden chests where it is ripened for at least 40 days and for up to one year. The crust, which is regularly anointed with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar, takes on saffron yellow or brown hue, which is streaked by the wicker baskets in which it is placed in the draining phase.
The cheese has a slightly musky aroma (notes of fungus, noble rot and dry wood) and it is extraordinarily mellow in the mouth, with a fine balance of strong flavors and the taste of sheep’s milk.
The Festival of Pecorino di Farindola
If you happen to plan to visit our Sister City Farindola next August, you will have an opportunity to participate at its annual Festival of Pecorino. There will be a gastronomic journey through the winding streets and piazzas of the old town, with a variety of musical performances, and international painters and sculptors will open their studios.
Future of Pecorino di Farindola
Just like with many other traditional Italian products, pecorino production has seen ups and downs, although, local farmers never really stopped making it for family consumption and that what saved it. Interest in pecorino di Farindola was renewed in the 1990s as traditional small-scale farm production went through a revival.
Lush green pastures and fresh mountain air give the pecorino complex fragrant flavours, when combined with the characteristic sweet note from the pig rennet it makes this cheese stand out. A big hype was created at the international cheese fair organised by Slow Food in 2001. 100 kg of Pecorino di Farindola were sold within a couple of hours and everyone wanted to know more about the rare cheese from Abruzzo.
On the wave of interest the Pecorino di Farindola Consortium was established to safeguard this unique cheese and revitalise its production. Today 20 small family-run farms make 90,000 kilos of pecorino every year, however, it is not enough to satisfy the ever-growing demand from Italian and international buyers.