This is a relatively recent breed, originating by an ancient triple cross-breeding. It is a medium sized sheep with a fine, elongated and light head; it features a well-built body and lean, strong legs. Its fleece is white, with a red hue on the cheeks and around the eyes. Rams can have spiralled horns turning backwards. The Belice Valley sheep is one of the most productive Italian milking sheep: its yield has been calculated in 287 liters of milk per year. Its milk is particularly suited for cheesemaking, full of fat matter (from 6 to 7.23%) and proteins (5.11%); herdsmen say this is the only ovine milk worth stretching. It is in fact the raw material for Vastedda, one of the rare stretched cheeses made with sheep’s milk.Belice Valley sheep are now bred in the provinces of Agrigento, Palermo and Trapani (Sicily).
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.