Perette di Pattada

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Perette di Pattada is a raw milk cheese typical of the Sardinian province of Sassari, and in particular of the town of Pattada where families have preserved the tradition. It is a stretched-curd cheese, vaguely oval in shape, and made during the final stages of the lactation season (June and July) that today can be found also at other times throughout the year. It is relatively small in size and characterized by an intensely yellow and soft interior and a short aging time. The cheese can be eaten from 20 days onward, up to two months, when the flavor becomes very spicy. They are traditionally are also used to fill ravioli or to fill seadas, a typical Sardinian sweet pastry. The production technique uses cow’s milk left to ripen for 24 hours with the addition of rennet, after which time the curd is elastic and able to be stretched. The individual cheese forms are placed in saltwater brine and hung in an aging room for at least 15 days until dry. It is a typical product throughout the area of Pattada. Families used to make the cheese traditionally, and above all the women of the house would learn the technique and the craft to make the small cheeses with a rounded shape similar to a small pear. In addition to cheeses made for home consumption, the product is sold commercially by three producers from Pattada. The tradition of the perette is disappearing along with families’ oral traditions of passing down the necessary techniques and skills. The local producers are principally making pecorino and other sheep’s milk cheeses, which are easier and less laborious, signaling the demise of the peretta. Only three producers in Pattada have maintained the production and make a large enough quantity to sell on the local market, even though the demand for Perette di Pattada is always widespread, and there are requests for it throughout the region. Also, this family tradition is being lost because many dairy farmers prefer to deliver all of their milk to the regional cooperative rather than cheesemakers for their home cheesemaking or for small private sales.

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Milk and milk products