Why Italian cheesemakers buried their pecorino

Pecorino Romano, a model initially hailing from the Lazio area close to Rome (therefore the identify “Romano”), is the cheese that defines the Italian kitchen. It is lighter, drier and saltier than different pecorino varieties, and bonds so many Italian dishes reminiscent of cacio e pepe, pasta carbonara and bucatini all’amatriciana (a typical Roman dish made from pasta, pig’s cheek and tomatoes). It is seasoned for as much as two years and is scrumptious with a dab of honey and a glass of wine. And it has been round Italy for two,000 years.

Through the Roman Republic (508-27 BCE), shepherds wanted to do one thing with their extra sheep’s milk and they also made what’s Pecorino Romano. The Roman Empire’s famend agricultural author, Lucio Moderato Columella, wrote about what seemed to be Pecorino Romano in 50 CE in De Re Rustica. Seems, Pecorino Romano was a perfect meals for Roman armies because it had a lifespan longer than many troopers. Within the Center Ages, folks began including salt to Pecorino Romano and found that it helped protect the cheese. Quickly, it unfold past the Italian peninsula.

Pecorino Romano has survived the autumn of the Roman Empire, earthquakes and fascism.

“Pecorino Romano is sort of a Roman soldier,” mentioned Rome-based meals author Rachel Alice Roddy. “It is meant to be a working cheese.”

Regardless of its identify, Pecorino Romano is bought on a big scale as it’s used primarily within the house kitchen. This mass-produced model, inexpensive and available in supermarkets throughout Italy, not solely survived Covid, it thrived. Throughout Italy’s lockdowns, households stocked up on it. In reality, gross sales went up throughout Covid, going from 26,940 tons bought in 2019 to 34,280 final 12 months.

Artisanal pecorinos, in the meantime, almost grew to become one other Covid sufferer when eating places and public markets closed, and producers questioned what they’d do with factories stuffed with cheese going dangerous quick. And so, they resorted to promoting it door to door. They grew their very own corn to fight the rising price of sheep feed. And so they buried it in caves to protect it for a later date.

Leave a Comment