The one I liked most between the cheeses we received for our first experiment, is this. Or, I should say that it is the one I “adored”.
May be because I prefer the cheeses with a fresh and delicate taste, slightly salted, ripe for a short period of time (this ricotta is just two-month ripe), or may be the mild smoking treatment, but I was only able to cut slices thicker and thicker, I couldn’t resist to its creaminess, something delicious.
At the beginning, I was a little bit biased, as often smoked cheeses taste of… smoke too heavily!This cold technique, on the other hand, gives the cheese just a very light taste of smoke, apparently different from one ricotta to another, in a word, we are talking about a homemade product, thanks God O:-)
This ricotta has been awarded several times; it is made of milk from sopravissane sheep, grazing on the Abruzzi plateau. The ingredients are moving: buttermilk from sheep’s raw milk, fresh milk, natural curd, sea salt, smoke from juniper wood, crab apple tree and cherry.
The buttermilk is heated up to 75-78°C, a small amount of fresh milk is added and it is left curdling into specific cheese holder (called fascelle, in italian). After a brief drying period, the following week, the ricotta is smoked with cold smoke of aromatic woods. You may find it all year round.
I have read in the net that smoked foods are controversial, due to the substances in the smoke (phenol and other volatile substances); it seems that, if the smoking process is not adequate, it could develop very dangerous substances. The thing is that every time my tot tasted smoked foods, little bubbles blossomed on her face (not in this case, though – may be, the cold smoking has different effects). My little toxin-measuring tot!
The recipe I cooked (with some suggestions of my friend from the restaurant you know) consist of tomato sorbet; the ricotta cheese was so delicious that I didn’t even think about cooking it! And the only match that came into my mind was raw, discreet and plain. And delicious :-)
Here’s the link to taste on “Quale formaggio”.
The bright cooperative that offers this to the hole world is called Parco Produce, an Abruzzi cooperative, consisting of seven organic farms, placed within the Majella Nation Park and Abruzzi National Park.
In this page, you will find their hole production, that can be ordered via e-mail, by phone and also by fax (you order on Monday and receive within the same week), 15€ expedition fee is charged.