Caciocavallo Podolico, DOP Cheese from Basilicata
The Caciocavallo Podolico is a semi-firm cheese produced using milk from a special breed called “podolica” indeed. Mainly due to the exceptional quality of its milk, it has entered the list of Italian DOP cheeses. Can't wait to taste it?
Or better, what is Podolian Caciocavallo? In fact, we are not dealing with a common Caciocavallo cheese. The Caciocavallo Podolico (in Italian) is a semi-firm cheese produced using milk from a special breed called “podolica” indeed.
The Podolian cows are considered special since they are not raised in dairy farms but bred in the wild in places rich in aromatic plants, shrubs and plants of the undergrowth that give Caciocavallo cheese special flavors and scents. They are raised throughout the Southern Apennines. Yet, it seems that the milk from cattle reared in Basilicata, in the South of Italy, has got a higher quality and an extremely delicious taste.
Curiously, the Podolian cow is not a Souhtern breed, being native of Ukraine and introduced in the South of Italy during the barbarian invasions.
Mainly due to the exceptional quality of its milk, the Caciocallo Podolico Lucano (that is from Basilicata) has entered the list of Italian DOP cheeses.
Caciocavallo cheese making
Why is Caciocavallo Podolico so exquisite among the various types of Italian cheese?
The special nature of this semi-hard cheese lies in the fact that the Podolica cattle is not a very productive race. The cows are milked just once a day in spring and summer, therefore their milk is really a rare specialty. The Caciocavallo Podolico is aged for months and in some cases for years.
The forms of Caciocavallo Podolico are tied in pairs with a rope and placed astride a beam or a rod (the Italian translation for astride is “a cavallo”) hanging from the ceiling for seasoning. The longer the aging, the more intense and spicy is the flavor.
The Caciocavallo cheese is pale yellow, with rather firm consistency, elastic when it is not very mature and full of little holes. In very seasoned cheese it is easy to find cracks inside. These are not mark of a bad seasoning, but are just evidence of long duration.
For all these reasons this cheese is absolutely unique. And if you are looking for a worthy Caciocavallo cheese substitute, no hope! Try it once and you will understand why!