Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Roma for Sheep's-Milk Cheese Lovers ; CHEESE OF THE WEEK

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Roma for Sheep's-Milk Cheese Lovers ; CHEESE OF THE WEEK

Article excerpt

BRUNELLI ROMA CHEESE

Aroma **

Taste ***

Price **

In the past, wherever greatly-admired, durable, long-aged cheeses were made for transport and sale, shepherds made smaller, less- refined cheeses for their own daily consumption.

Caciotta is a generic Italian term for a semi-firm, sliceable cheese of sheep's milk, sometimes with added cow, goat or buffalo milk. Younger and usually milder than the long-aged barrel-like wheels of grating Pecorino it was made alongside, the name caciotta or cacio means "cheese."

These rustic cheeses are still made in many locations from Tuscany to Lazio and throughout Central Italy, and are casual table cheeses, flavorful but not terribly expensive.

R. Brunelli's Roma Cheese, available at Sam's Club, is of the caciotta style of sheep's cheese traditionally made near Rome. It is of pure sheep's milk and lightly aged for one month.

Brunelli is a respected maker of Pecorino Romano. According to the dairy, the company was formed in 1938 when Remo Brunelli became a seller of Pecorino Romano cheeses made in his area. In 1940, he bought a site containing an ancient tower atop a cave system in Prima Porta, and began aging the cheeses in the caves before sale. Now the company, under leadership of Remo's son Giuseppe, manufactures its own cheeses at a large dairy facility south of Rome, crafting a wide variety of cheeses including the Roma cheese available locally.

Brunelli's Roma cheese is firm yet juicy and moist, with a pronounced sheep milk flavor - stronger than other caciottas I've found locally. If you like imported Pecorinos such as Locatelli or Spanish sheep cheeses such as Manchego you're certain to enjoy it. It has the barnyard flavor of a Pecorino Romano, but is much softer, less expensive and melts well. It would be wonderful used for the traditional central Italian Pasta Cacio Pepe, which means "pasta with cheese and pepper." Toss just-drained spaghetti with generous olive oil, shredded caciotta and fresh-ground pepper and serve with Chianti and crusty bread. …

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