Pecorino sardo (or Pecorino sardo maturo - mature version)is a firm cheese from Sardinia, Italy (also known as fiore sardo). It is a Protected designation of origin (or DOP) cheese, and is made from the sheep milk of the Sardinian sheep. Its flavour is different than its more famous cousin, Pecorino Romano - sardo is richer while romano is much more biting and salty. Pecorino sardo is delicious in applications where the romano would overpower, such as in pesto or with fruit.
Pecorino sardo is an uncooked hard cheese made from fresh whole sheep's milk curdled using lamb or kid rennet. The mixture is poured into moulds that will give the cheese its characteristic shape. After a brief period in brine, the moulds are lightly smoked and left to ripen in cool cellars in central Sardinia. The average weight of the finished product is 3.5 kilos: sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less depending on the conditions of manufacture. The rind varies from deep yellow to dark brown in colour and encases a paste that varies from white to straw-yellow. The sharpness of the flavour depends on the length of maturation. It's most often found in the United States as a hard cheese, its more mature form.
Pecorino sardo is not as well known outside Italy as Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Toscano, although a good deal of pecorino romano is actually made in Sardinia, as Sardinia is within romano's DOP area. Pecorino sardo can be processed further into Casu marzu.
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