From Puglia to Campania: goat cacioricotta is a truly sought-after local excellence. A highly appreciated cheese that lends itself as the main ingredient of ancient and traditional recipes. Excellent fresh, sublime aged: let’s see together how one of the most natural cheeses that exist is born, also suitable for pregnant women if suitably thermalised.
Goat cacioricotta is a cheese made from goat’s milk only through a very particular processing technique. Let’s start by saying that the milk used is milked from goats raised in the wild: this gives the product a unique taste and flavour because the goat’s diet is not industrial. Goat cacioricotta is a highly sought-after cheese and there are few companies that produce it – unlike the non-accredited local Massaro who transforms daily milking into amazing cheese to bring to the table – making it a niche product. Among the production areas we find Puglia, but above all Cilento, which boasts this product as an excellence of the territory.
How is the Cilento goat cacioricotta born?
Cilento goat cacioricotta is made from the milk of goats raised in the wild and we are taught by Messrs. Antonio and Carminuccio Monzo of the I Moresani farmhouse who, every day, dedicate part of their time to goat grazing.
The Cilento farm has always produced goat cacioricotta from Cilento: before it was Mrs Filomena who took care of it, now, the baton has passed to her children – especially Domenico Monzo – while instead she constantly dedicates herself to the farmhouse kitchen. A beautiful family history which, over time, has earned the recognition of territorial excellence. From them the processing of goat cacioricotta from Cilento is done in a special didactic laboratory and follows a mixed processing: the cheese is worked in part with rennet coagulation (characteristic of cheese) and in part thermal (characteristic of ricotta).
For processing, the milk from 2 milkings is brought to a temperature of 90 ° C. Once the temperature of the milk drops to 38 – 40 ° C, the rennet is added (which can be easily found in the pharmacy). The curd is formed which is broken into granules, heated, placed in cylindrical moulds and pressed by hand, in order to eliminate the excess whey. It is important to press the cheese well: it is a step that should not be underestimated for the excellent result of the product. Once the cacioricotta is obtained, it can be eaten fresh or subjected to dry salting and then seasoned. Receiving it at home, directly from Cilento, is really very simple.
What the goat cacioricotta looks like
The cacioricotta has a shape of about 20 cm in diameter and 7 in height. Normally the pieces are 500 grams of fresh cheese. The paste is white and compact, with no holes in the fresh product; while the seasoned product is dry, scaly and straw-yellow in colour with fine holes. Based on the different shrubs of the Mediterranean scrub, which the goat feeds on, there is an aromatic diversity of the product.
A different use based on seasoning
Cilento goat cacioricotta can be consumed in 3 different textures and seasonings. The first is the fresh product: as soon as the cacioricotta is free of excess whey it can be consumed – with or without salt – within 48 hours after making it.
Eaten fresh it is divine, but it also lends itself to numerous recipes: Mrs Filomena, for example, uses it as the main ingredient for her strictly hand-made ravioli, other chefs use it for example in rustic cakes. After about 15 days the product is semi-cured: the paste releases a nice intensity of taste on the palate and is mellow to the bite. Grated, it is ideal as an ingredient to add to the mixes of fillings (peppers or stuffed aubergines for example).
The third consistency is the prolonged seasoning, which goes beyond two months. The paste is hard with a spicy flavour and an intense straw yellow colour. Ideal grated on first courses based on fresh pasta – such as fusilli with meat sauce – or as an aperitif with very full-bodied red wine. Furthermore, the grated product is perfect for making meatballs, crocchè and various types of fillings. As far as wine pairings are concerned, aged goat cacioricotta goes very well with a non-young and well-structured Fiano.
The secrets of Cilento goat Cacioricotta
There are many young people who have decided to stay in the South, making nature a reason for living. Graduates with a passion for craftsmanship: this is the story of Annacarla Tredici, a journalist and mother from Geneva who, together with her husband Andrea, opened a company in Cilento – Tenuta Principe Mazzacane – that produces goat Cacioricotta from Cilento. In good order, they recruited the native Cilento goats: “The secret to having a good Cilento goat cacioricotta – explains Annacarla – lies first in the goat breed and then in the diet: grazing is essential”.
The animal in the wild, in fact, walks a lot: it has better circulation and, since the goat is very selective in its diet, it is able to choose well what to eat and what to avoid. “The Cilento goat, grazing in the Mediterranean scrub, eats broom, hawthorn, dried fig leaves: a whole series of varieties important for the quality of the milk, which we will then find in the cheese in terms of flavours and aromas. The Cilento breed, which we understand 3 sub-categories (black, red and grey), we look after it trying to keep only the best garments to guarantee us better genetics “.
The only drawback is the quantity of milk: “The Cilento goat breed produces less milk but the yield is higher and, compared to other breeds, it must be said that the milk is really very good. Cleaning is essential: for to have a perfect cheese it is necessary to keep the animal in perfect clean conditions, starting from the stables, ending with all the equipment related to milking and making the cheese. We produce goat cacioricotta in 4 variations, different for maturing phases. Besides cacioricotta, we are also experimenting with goat blue which is giving considerable satisfaction, especially to the palate. “During processing, explains Annacarla,” our milk does not exceed 90 ºC and is always subjected to thermalisation in such a way allow pregnant women to be able to safely consume our goat cacioricotta from Cilento ”.