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Caciofiore Cheese

  • 67033 Pescocostanzo AQ, Italia
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The caciofiore of L'Aquila is a cheese similar to pecorino, of medium seasoning whose production is linked to the high pastures of the province of L'Aquila; it has a cylindrical shape, a soft creamy paste, a white-milk color and a delicate aroma. It is a traditional product of the local transhumance and owes its particularity to the use of vegetable rennet. The shepherds, during their displacements, easily collected the flowers of wild thistle to dry them in the sun. It was particularly easy, for those who were on the move, to keep a dried product that at the moment of use was put in infusion to act as rennet. It is an excellent table cheese. It is used in several typical recipes from Abruzzo, and is also used to season pasta, cut into small pieces and mixed with butter, and to gratin vegetables such as zucchini and carrots. Raw milk, inoculated with lactin or serum starter to improve acidification, is added with saffron and, later, with vegetable coagulant extracted from artichoke flowers, at a temperature of 36-37° (some producers, however, operate at 28-30°). The curd undergoes a break in two stages, interspersed with a pause. The first one is a coarse cut, the second one is a more precise one, in order to size the paste like a grain of corn. The dough is then extracted manually and placed in the moulds for forming. These are placed on an inclined table, where they remain for 2 days, after having been turned at least 4 times. Dry salting is done on the whole surface of the cheese and lasts 24 hours.

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