Cinisara Cow Caciocavallo

Ark of taste
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In the wild and mountainous territory between Palermo and Trapani where only animals of great rusticity are able to find sustenance, the Cinisara cow was selected adapting perfectly to the rough environmental conditions. The Cinisara cow is of medium size, with completely black skin, robust yet fine bones (sign of agility) and tremendous grassing capacity: despite the scarce vegetation and the meager pastures it produces discrete quantities of aromatic milk, rich in protein and fat content. There are about three thousand Cinisara cows left, which are often held together and/or even crossbred with Modica cows, another rustic and adaptable Sicilian breed. The Cinisara cow caciocavallo is made after each milking, curdling the milk in a wooden vat. After 45 minutes the finely broken up curd is extracted, left to dry and then cut into large slices and put to drain on the cannara. It is then returned to the vat and covered with hot “scotta” (the leftover whey after the production of ricotta cheese) and after four hours once again extracted, spread out on the cannara and pressed until flat and elongated. These sheets are hung up to dry and mature over night, then thinly sliced and put into the piddiaturi, the vat used for the curd-stretching, and covered in hot whey. Just as the curd begins to decalcify it is worked with a wooden stick (the maciliaturi) and with the hands. The mass is given the shape of a large, perfectly closed pear (‘nccuppata). The cheese is then pressed in between two wooden boards and continuously rotated until reaching its typical parallelepiped shape, weighting between 8-10 kilograms. For salting the cheese is immersed in saturated brine for a period equal to one day for each kilo. The Cinisara cow caciocavallo is aged for 2 to 6 months, taking on increasingly spicier, more caramelized and accentuated notes of field flowers, of Mediterranean maquis, accompanied by delicate animalistic nuances from the rennet. Its flavor is persuasive, pasty, long, with an evident acidic note that balances its greasiness. It is produced in the communes of Godrano, Cinisi as well as bordering areas in the province of Palermo up to north western coastal area of the province of Trapani, Sicily.

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