Viewpoint: Pecorino cheese

Delicious wheels of Pecorino cheese wrapped neatly in red radicchio, leek and green cabbage – the pride of any Italian artisan food fair or market

Photo by iStock

Pecorino is a ewe’s milk cheese that, although pretty well known, often falls into the shadow of the nation’s far more famous Parmesan, for virtue of the fact it is sharper and saltier in flavour than its smoother, more refined rival. There are three main types of Pecorino: Pecorino Romano; Pecorino Toscana; and Pecorino Sardo (produced in Sardinia).

Each of these varieties differs slightly in texture, flavour and the manufacturing process used. In Tuscany it is the area of Pienza that is particularly known for production of Pecorino – the town even hosts an annual Pecorino festival on the first Sunday of September. The event celebrates the cheese and includes the Cacio al Fuso contest – a competition in which the participants roll wheels of Pecorino towards a spindle, aiming to be the one to roll it closest to the target.