Caciocavallo di Agnone

I'm used’ one of the best-known cheeses of South Italy, pear shape, the intense, the taste that becomes more and more spicy seasoning. I'm used’ caciocavallo, that in the variant Silana has PDO status (Protected designation of origin) While in Agnone, in Molise, is a Pat (traditional food product), established in 2009 by the Ministry of agriculture. I will tell you about that Molise, whose track already is found in documents of the 1400 who speak of the area between the Biferno and the Aventine. And I'll tell you by partnering with a dairy town of Agnone, the caseificio Di Nucci, where the cheese is produced by eleven generations always traditionally crafted. That the Alto Molise, between the mountains of Maiella and Matese, It should be an area where milk and cheese are almost a vocation you can tell immediately, along with eyes the historic sights of the Transhumance. Even today it is easy to imagine the throngs of bovine animals before winter crossing the tracks to go to sea and toward greener pastures, in a journey through hundreds of years.

Agnone is at the heart of this crossroads of animals and men: located at 850 meters high, with canteens that seem born to aged cheeses, is the city symbol of the cheese trade Molise together with neighboring Vastogirardi, Carovilli and Capracotta. “"Cheese on horseback” literally means that the cheese dries, tied in pairs, astride on a pole: so they did, and so do you still. The origins of the dairy in Nucci date back to 1662, and today we got to the 11th generation: the management is still firmly and proudly crafted. The milk used to produce cheese and generally typical cheeses of transhumance, is that Bruna Alpina cows and Red spotted, they arrive in the morning from the farms of 15 cooperative members: Obviously everything is milk coming from the territory of Agnone and Molise. The processing is done in raw milk, with the addition of natural whey starter and calf rennet. Every day, in the plant of Nucci, It employs about 30 quintals of milk. To make 8 kilograms of cheese, do you need 100 kilograms of milk. Very little is needed to understand how the production process of this cheese represents the territory and how its supply chain is short and fully traceable.

The review can make you grasp the essentiality of gesture, the scent of curd and the wisdom of dairymen. For this reason I invite you to see the video, you will also find on my You Tube Channel, carefully, trying to imagine the strength of that stringy taut and intertwined, its texture and aromas of maturing.

HOW TO MAKE CHEESE: Once you arrive to the dairy, the milk is 36-38 degrees, then you add natural whey starter and rennet of veal. An hour waiting to form the curds, then comes the cut. Here we find the first peculiarity of this cheese: caciocavallo made two breaks of curd and not a single. The aim is to achieve a smaller grain curd. When you are satisfied, the curd is cut the first time, is extracted from the boiler and is crushed mechanically. After crushing, you switch to crush, that is a first spinning process in water at 90 degrees. Then, the curd is poured into wooden tubs, According to tradition, and worked by hand. Following the forming phase: This pasta is so durable that, to get her, you need the strength of two people. The dough is often wet in the tub with hot water, to keep it workable: It is magnificent to see the dough stretch and then interweaving and take piano that form typical of Piriform caciocavallo. Once formed, caciocavallo is tied in pairs and immersed in cold water, so cool and maintain the shape obtained with so much effort. When it is cold, the cheese is left to rest in a brine of salt and water with a concentration of 10% for 24-36 hours. Now we arrived to the moment that gives its name to the cheese: cheese is hung on a pole in a ventilated naturally, where dry for about 10 days. Finally, matures always ' astride’ a perch in maturing rooms in Tuff: 4-6 months of rest give rise to caciocavallo cheese, from 7 months onwards (normally up to one year) Here's the seasoned. During the long period of sleep, lead molds, that cover the surface of the cheese by consuming the residual sugar and releasing those aromatic components that make him so irresistible. During this time, the initial form, It weighs about 2 kg, wiping loses weight and settles down to about 1,4 kg.

Once tasted the cheese (I have a passion for what seasoned ultra), Remember that there are other extraordinary cheeses molisani, starting from the magnificent tattered from manteca with hand-wrought butter, to switch to tidbits, ricotta, Primo sale, scamorza cheese, caciotta of transhumance. In addition to more creative’ modern cheese enriched with black truffle from Molise and Zafaran Igp. In the country do Agnone, After having tasted the cheese, visit the Museum "Massaro Giovanni Di Nucci" within the dairy, which is also “national historical company”: one way to better understand, through old photographs, utensils and items used during the transhumance, the lives of dairymen and the great cheese tradition of Molise, in what has been rightly called “the civilization of the Tracks”.

The Museum also has a copy of the “De Re Rustica” by Columella and the only preserved specimen of “Pastoral Reason” by Stefano Di Stefano, printed at Naples in 1731. Little curiosity: in a glass case you see a handwritten letter. I'm used’ an émigré Molise who writes from America to the dairy Of Nucci, to whom we owe the creation of a unique cheese: the caciosalame. A caciotta inside hides a whole salami. In the America of the fifties, It was prohibited to import meats. And hide the salami inside the cheese caciocavallo was the ingenious solution designed to circumvent the ban and continue to send to relatives those foods that made them feel close to Italy. You may feel a little’ smugglers also you, because the caciosalame the dairy Nucci produces yet, not to forget all those Malay – all those Italians – that from their own country are due to go away.

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