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Canestrato

Producer
Casa Madaio
Country
Italy
Region
Basilicata
Size
6.25” diameter, 5 ins high
Weight
10 lbs
Website
www.casamadaio.it/en.html
Milk
Sheep
Classification
Hard
Rennet
Animal
Rind
Natural

Owned by the Madaio family, Casa Madaio is an acclaimed cheese affineur (maturer) and producer located in Salerno, Italy. The family home, a castle with three towers, is reflected in Casa Madaio’s distinct logo. Mr. Madaio feels that the towers not only represent the home, but also the connection of the past with the future. To him, the towers symbolize his three children Angelo, Renata and David and the future of Casa Madaio. At Casa Madaio, both cheese production and the cheese aging facility are small scale. The business is centered at two different locations. The cheese making facilities are in Eboli, along with the central office, while the aging caves are located at Castelcivita, in the heart of the The National Park of Cilento and Vallo of Diano. The area is steeped in history. The caves have been used to age cheeses by the Madaio family for four generations, and the company places great value on the preservation of the history and flavors of the land, working closely with local universities and with the Slow Food movement to further research. Their cheeses are primarily sold to small specialty shops and restaurants, both in Italy and abroad. Casa Madaio makes both fresh goat and buffalo milk cheeses at their location in Eboli. In addition, they also purchase cheeses made at small mountain dairies nearby that they age themselves at Castelcivita. Canestrato is a sheep’s milk cheese that has traditionally been produced on small farms in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. However, today the production area for Casa Madeo’s Canestrato is being moved to the mountains near Catelcivita to ensure that the milk and final cheese is of the highest quality. Canestrato’s rind is brown and covered in striations caused by its aging in wicker baskets while the rind is developing. Once the rind is semi-hard, the cheeses are removed from the baskets and placed on wooden shelves to continue aging for another 7 months. Aged between 12 and 18 months in total, the aromatic character of the cheese changes depending on age. At 12 months, aromas are of milk and grass while at 18 months roasted hazelnuts and hay are prominent. The paste is light yellow with a dense, crumbly texture. Canestrato has a slightly sharp, savage flavor. This is due to its aging in the baskets, which prevents the liquid part of the cheese from dissipating too quickly. It ensures that the final cheese retains the original flavor of the milk.

Tasting Notes

Canestrato has a slightly sharp, savage flavor. This is due to its aging in the baskets, which prevents the liquid part of the cheese from dissipating too quickly. It ensures that the final cheese retains the original flavor of the milk.

Pairings

Pairing suggestions include bold wines and beers to balance the flavor. It is also suggested that it be paired with Passito, an Italian white wine made from dried grapes, which concentrates the flavor. The result is a very sweet wine that has a density reminiscent of a Sauternes. This cheese is very popular served with bean soup in Italy. In fact, some chefs will actually dig out the paste of the cheese and use the rind as a serving bowl for soups.

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