Vastedda is Italy’s only stretched-curd sheep’s milk cheese. Historically it was made by the skilled cheesemakers in the Belìce Valley during the summer as a way of salvaging defective pecorino cheeses. The name comes from the dialect “vasta”, meaning spoiled, gone bad. The cheesemakers’ extraordinarily original idea was to rework the unsuccessful cheeses, stretching them at high temperatures to create this round, flat cheese. It must be eaten fresh, two or three days after being made. The delicious cheese is highly fragrant, with an intense flavor, and pairs best with Sicilian extra-virgin olive oil, tomatoes and oregano.
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Vastedda is made from May to October.
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PresidiumThe milk comes from a native breed, the Belìce sheep, a medium-size animal with a small, elongated head, robust limbs and a white fleece. It is appreciated for its productivity and resistance to the extreme weather typical of this area, where summers are very hot and winters are colder than other parts of the island. The sheep graze freely, eating local grasses and herbs, supplemented when necessary with locally grown cereals and legumes.
Belìce Valley, Trapani, Agrigento and Palermo Provinces
Presidium supported by
Sicily Regional Authority's Agriculture and Forestry Department