Puglia in Italy is responsible for some of the most heavenly cheeses in the world. While this sun-soaked heel of Italian region flirts with the olive tree-studded countryside, nothing comes closer to the variety of cheese is produced.
Some of the cheeses that you must try when you are in Puglia are:
The Canestrato Pugliese is a hard cheese made up of Sheep’s milk. It is one of the most prized products of the region of Apulia, crafted from December to May at the altitudes of 250 to 700 meters, perfect for sheep farming. Canestrato is aged in the Reed basket, while matured, it has quite a piquant flavour suitable for grating. The lighter version of Canestrato can be paired with fava beans, pears, or crudités, and accompanied by rosé or dry white wines.
If you want to see magic, you must see Burrata being prepared in front of your eyes. The famous Puglian tender ball of cheese when sliced by someone with the knife, brings out the buttery insides. This looks similar to Mozzarella. This creamy cheese is drizzled with olive oil and served alongside homemade bread, or for added decadence, Burrata can also be piled high on pizza to concoct the dream comfort food.
Pecorino is a sheep’s milk cheese produced mainly in the areas around Bari, Murgia, and Dauno Apennines. This cheese type is still handmade with wooden tools and respecting the old traditions, which is why it is a traditional agricultural food product. The fresh version is to be consumed within 2 months while maturation of the aged variant should last at least 6 months or longer. Pecorino comes in various sizes as the weight of the wheel varies from 2 to 7 kgs. It is to be served with Chianti, Brunello, Barbera d’Alba as well as Pinot Grigio and Riesling.
Pallone di Gravina
Pallone di Gravina is a semi-hard pasta filata style cheese made up of pasteurized cow's milk which is shaped like a ball. It is aged for a minimum of 4 months. The shape makes it easier to transport it on donkey's back. The outer surface of the cheese is harder while the inside texture is smooth. It is strong and spicy. It can be paired with red wines such as Castel Del Monte Rosso DOCG, also Riserva, and Salice Salentino Rosso DOP.
Burrata di Andria
Did you know that Burrata di Andria is known as “Queen of Cheeses”? Yes, because it is made up of cow’s milk, mozzarella and cream. Despite being into existence for just 30 years, Burrata di Andria has become Italy’s classic cheese produced in the town of Andria. The outer layer is mozzarella while the inner ingredients are a mixture of mozzarella and cream. It is most often served seasoned with just salt & pepper and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. However, it also pairs beautifully with bruschetta topped with prosciutto, figs, tomatoes and various fresh vegetables.
Ricotta is a fresh, soft cheese made from sheep's, cow's, goat's or Italian water buffalo's milk. It is not exactly a form of cheese, but curd made by reheating whey. Ricotta is slightly sweet, white and creamy. It is usually conical in shape due to the traditional container “Fuscella” in which the cheese is kept after skimming. It can be served with Castagnaccio and Panini di Sant'Antonio.
It is a traditional Puglian Italian cheese made from the shreds of mozzarella made from water buffalo’s milk mixed with fresh cream. It is versatile and due to its mild flavours, it can be served with almost anything – from pasta and risottos to pizzas and bruschetta. It has a rich, creamy and buttery texture and the flavours are fresh, milky and acidic.
So, have you found your Apulian soul cheese yet?
Source(s): Prodigus.it, especiallypuglia, Tasteatlas, thethinkingtraveller, Alchetron, Washington Post