The Pecorino Family of cheese is difficult to describe. While technically definable in a completely broad sense, it is very rare that two cheeses under the Pecorino umbrella will be remotely similar. This is because the definition of Pecorino is limited to “Italian Sheep’s Milk Cheese”. This can range anywhere from the name protected Pecorino Romano*, an intensely salty and flaky masterpiece, to Pecorino Piacentinu allo Zafferano*, a brightly yellow colored cheese with Saffron in the paste, and even Pecorino Camomilla*, a unique wheel of cheese with a history steeped in tradition.
Pecorino Camomilla is made in the early summer months (May and June) when the sheep are grazing in fields filled with the best grass and littered with Chamomile flowers. They take the sheep’s milk, pasteurize it at 72 Degrees Celsius, (roughly 160 degrees Fahrenheit), and then cool it at between 32 and 35 degrees Celsius (again for Americans this is roughly between 89 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit). Ferments are then introduced to the pasteurized milk. After the fermentation process, rennet is added, and the mixture coagulates. The curd gets broken and drained into moulds, where the cheese is then brined and put into a cold room between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius (43-46 F). The cheese is then covered in Chamomile and left to age in virgin fir crates. The chamomile allows the cheese to remain soft, and maintains the fragrance of the chamomile in the milk, creating a truly flavorful and aromatic cheese.
Its not unusual for Italians to put herbs, nettles, or flowers on their cheeses. The process is steeped in familial tradition, and serves a very important purpose historically. Before the days of convenient temperature control and refrigeration, cheesemakers used to coat their cheese to help insure it would last. The cheesemakers behind Pecorino Camomilla spent years trying to perfect the process to mirror the process of their families tradition, and have succeeded.
Pecorino Camomilla pairs very well with raw vegetables, or even on its own with a sprinkle of black pepper and some extra virgin olive oil.
*It should be mentioned all three of these cheeses are available for purchase at our retail locations The Truffle Cheese Shop.