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Saffron Cheese


The significance of this cheese’s name is much debated.  According to some, ‘Piacintinu’ means ‘cheese that pleases (piace)’, whilst others claim it means ‘cheese that weeps (piange)’ due to the fact that drops of serum are sometimes present in the fresh forms.  It could also mean a cheese ‘to be ripened’ like the northern Italian Grana cheeses, since ‘Piacentino’ was the traditional name given to Grana.  In fact, although the current trend is to eat it fresh, Piacintinu is well adapted to a lengthy ripening process.  Its most obvious characteristic is the abundant addition of wild saffron to the curd, giving it a unique colour and flavour.  The sheep used for its production feed mainly on vetch, a leguminous plant, which confers its own distinctive flavour to the milk.

Organoleptic characteristics
Aspect and texture: compact, very intense yellow paste and rind. More or less hard according to the length of ripening and with the addition of black peppercorn
Taste: intense, particularly in the raw milk version, with notes of sheep’s milk, saffron and pepper
Serving suggestions: White or young red wines. Hot pear and quince chutney. Fresh broad beans and peas. Pasta without tomato sauces, French loaves
Technical characteristics
Milk: full fat, raw or pasteurised, sheep’s milk
Production method: artisan
Paste: pressed
Salting: dry
Ripening: at least 60 days
Production period: October to June
Fats: 40 % F-Dm
Weight: 3-8-25 kg
Size: variable
Producers: artisan dairies in the environs of Enna city