Caciocavallo di Ciminà: A Tasty, Ancient Cheese from Calabria

Sun, 01/11/2015 - 03:00

Good caciocavallo cheese is made throughout Southern Italy. Calabria, and especially the area around the small village of Ciminà (700 inhabitants) within the Aspromonte National Park, produces the Slow Food-protected Caciocavallo di Ciminà.

The technique to produce caciocavallo, which has been made here for hundreds of years, is more or less the same - what makes the difference are the pastures, the climate, and the hands of the cheesemakers.

In Ciminà, two versions of Caciocavallo are produced: the classic oval shape and an unusual one with two knots.

This double-headed version, small and elongated, is unique among Italian cheeses. It is usually eaten fresh, just a few days after production, often grilled. On the other hand, a few weeks of aging give it intense and lingering flavors of mown hay, yellow flowers and hazelnuts.

The Caciocavallo di Ciminà is made throughout the year, with most production taking place from March to June.

The goal of the Slow Food Presidium is to increase the production of larger caciocavalli, with a longer aging time, to help cheesemakers expand their production beyond the local market.

Currently, there are roughly 30 producers in Ciminà, rearing Podolica cows that roam free most of the year. The Presidium aims to bring them together in an association and help this cheese become an important resource for the development of Ciminà.