Castel del Monte Canestrato Pecorino Cheese
Castel del Monte Canestrato pecorino cheese is the characteristic pecorino cheese of transhumance: as a matter of fact, in the coldest months of the year, shepherds used to move their flocks to the milder grazing lands of Tavoliere delle Puglie, and returned in the mountains of Abruzzi in spring-summer. This kind of transhumance, called horizontal transhumance, is no longer practiced: it has been replaced by the so-called vertical transhumance, with flocks in the mountains during the most favorable months and sheltered in the stables at lower altitudes in winter.
Current Production Area in the Park: Currently, Canestrato pecorino cheese is produced on Gran Sasso slope of L'Aquila, an area with a traditional vocation for sheep breeding. From December to March, sheep are kept in the stables or in outer enclosures, while in spring-summer they move to the high-mountain pastures in Campo Imperatore.
A traditional product of Regione Abruzzo, Castel del Monte Canestrato pecorino cheese is obtained from the processing of raw sheep's milk with salt and rennet. The cheese, with a weight varying from 1 to 15 kilos, has a cylindrical shape, with flat upper and lower sides and slightly convex lateral sides. The rind bears the marks of the basket ("canestro", in Italian) traditionally used to mold the round. It can be sold fresh, with a maturation period of at least 2 months, semi-mature, and mature. Fresh and semi-mature pecorino cheese has a gradually more intense taste giving way to hay and pasture notes and a pleasant final sweetness. Mature pecorino cheese is characterized by very intense and balanced perfumes and aromas. Despite the long maturation period that can last more than 12 months and its spicy features, it has a creamy texture. It is possible to appreciate vegetal and grassy sensations giving way to chestnut, pasture, and spices features.
The producers have joined in a safeguard and enhancement consortium and respect precise production technical specifications.
Product Availability: Castel del Monte Canestrato pecorino cheese is for sale all year round.