Casa Madaio is an acclaimed cheese affineur (maturer) and producer located in Salerno, Italy. The business is owned by the Madaio family, and their home, a castle with three towers, is reflected in the distinctive logo of the company. Mr Madaio feels this also represents the connection of the past with the future, with the towers symbolizing his three children Angelo, Renata, and David and thus the future of Casa Madaio.
Both cheese production and the cheese aging facility are small scale, and sales of cheeses are primarily to small specialty shops and restaurants, both in Italy and abroad.
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.
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 in caves at Castelcivita.
Made from sheep’s milk to a Pecorino recipe, the production of Cinerino is inextricably linked to the local traditions of Castelcivita, a small village on the slopes of the Alburni Hills.
In Castelcivita, the arrival of summer is marked each year on 13th June with the Feast of St Anthony, when the celebrations include the lighting of bonfires made from fragrant myrtle branches. Moreover, after the festival, the ash from the fires is saved and used to coat the rinds of the young cheeses.
The ash helps to preserve and develop the rind, as well as protect the cheese during their unusual aging process. Cheeses are matured in containers that are placed in underground trenches known as Hallows, for between 3-6 months prior to release.
The texture of Cinerinio is firm and slightly flaky with an interior paste of a bone white color. In terms of flavor, the cheeses take on the smoke and wood characteristics of the myrtle ash, underpinned by grassy, lactic notes from the milk.