Produced by cheesemaker Nunzio Marcelli in the Abruzzo region of Italy, just East of Rome, Smoked Ricotta al fumo di Ginepro is a smoked, aged ricotta made from the whey of raw sheep’s milk.
The milk is sourced from Sopravvissana sheep, a rare breed native to Abruzzo, that are renowned for giving limited quantities of very high yielding (fat) milk. The sheep graze the hills surrounding the village where the cheese is made.
Marcelli first uses the milk to make Pecorino, preserving the whey from production for his ricotta cheeses, including the Ricotta Ginepro.
They whey is heated to 176˚F (80˚C) which causes any residual proteins (curds) to float to the surface. They are then scooped up and gently transferred to molds where they are allowed to drain naturally for several hours.
After unmolding, dry salting and drying, the cheeses are cold-smoked for twelve hours using juniper wood. They are then transferred to aging caves and allowed to mature for two months.
Flavors of Smoked Ricotta Ginepro are prominent and yet delicate and balanced. There are obvious notes of smoke and juniper with an underlying rich sweetness from the sheep’s milk. The texture is moist, dense and fine.