Produced by cheesemaker Gregorio Rotolo in the Abruzzo region of Italy, just East of Rome, Pecorino Scorza Nera is an aged pecorino made from raw sheep’s milk.
Whole milk is sourced from Sopravvissana sheep, a rare breed native to Abruzzo, renowned for giving limited quantities of very high yielding milk. The sheep graze the hills surrounding the village where the cheese is made.
Historically, Pecorino Scorza Nera was so popular during the 19th century, while much of Italy was under the jurisdiction of Naples, that the Abruzzi shepherds, who made the cheese, opened up their own store in Naples dedicated exclusively to selling the pecorino.
As is the case with the production of many pecorinos, Rotolo maintains the traditional practice of first using the milk to make his Pecorino and preserving the left-over whey from production to make ricotta.
Finished wheels of Pecorino Scorza Nera are coated in a mixture of vegetable ash and olive oil, which protects the cheese from drying out during the 6-9 month aging process.
The texture of the cheese is semi-firm with a few “eyes” or holes. Flavors are mild and sweet with rich, floral and nut-like notes and a very clean finish.