Ragusano PDO has a very pleasant flavour, aromatic and sweet when the cheese is young, which becomes more and more spicy as the aging period is extended.
Ragusano DOP is one of the oldest cheeses produced in Sicily. There is evidence of the presence of Ragusa in Sicilian history starting as early as the 1500s: the flourishing trade in this product was the subject of a reduction in duties in 1515, as stated in the work “Ferdinando il Cattolico e Carlo V” by Carmelo Trasselli.
Ragusano DOP is a spun paste cheese made with whole raw cow’s milk. Its production is limited to the seasons in which the pastures of the Ibleo plateau are particularly lush. Every form of Ragusano PDO weighs between 10 and 16 kilograms, is between 13 and 15 cm high and between 40 and 45 cm long. The process for the production of Ragusano DOP follows an ancient tradition that today is carefully observed by the producers. To make this cheese, the milk of one or more milking can be coagulated, favouring the natural development of the microflora. To promote coagulation, rennet is added in goat or lamb paste, together with water and salt. The quantity of solution must be such as to allow the paste to harden in a time between sixty and eighty minutes. The curd is then reduced to small pieces using the “iaruozzu”, a wooden rod that ends with a disk, and is subjected to pressing to favour sponging. The dough treated with the ricotta liquid or water at 80 ° C is then covered to avoid abrupt drops in temperature and left to rest for 85 minutes. The drying takes place by depositing the curd in the “vasceddi”, the baskets from which the serum is dripped. Subsequently a second cooking is carried out always at 80 ° C and the curd is left to rest for twenty hours, the time necessary to obtain the right degree of acidity. After fermentation, the thick paste is cut into slices and placed in the sieve, where it is treated with hot water to make it spin, for no longer than eight minutes. The product is then collected in wooden containers called “mastredde”, which give the Ragusa PDO its characteristic shape of a parallelepiped. The forms are lowered in brine to obtain salting, where they remain for two to eight days, depending on their weight. The maturing of the Ragusa DOP takes place in the “maiazzè”, local usually buried, humid and ventilated, where the temperature is between 14 ° and 16 °. The shapes are tied in pairs and placed on special supports to ensure perfect ventilation of each part of the cheese. For the forms of Ragusano DOP destined to long maturing the capping with olive oil is provided. The cheese is left to mature for a period of time ranging from four months to a whole year.
Ingredients: whole raw cow’s milk, salt, lamb rennet and / or kid
Packaging: vacuum or thermoformed bag
Size in Kg: 12
Deadline: 365 days
Maturing: 180 days
Storage temperature: + 4 °
Shape: square section parallelepiped with rounded corners
Pasta: firm, slightly glazed
Colour: golden or straw yellow
Taste: characteristic, delicate, pleasantly spicy
Average nutritional values x 100 gr
Energy value Kcal / KJ: 374/1565
Proteins: 28.4 g
Carbohydrates: 2,52 g
Fats: 30.10 g
Calcium: 772 mg
An unusual Caciocavallo cheese
Ragusano DOP was originally known as Caciocavallo, the cheese so called because it was left to dry on the verge of a board. However, Ragusano DOP does not have the characteristic rounded shape of caciocavallo, but looks like a yellow parallelepiped. Precisely because of this very particular form, the Ragusano DOP is “Scaluni”, that is “grand staircase”, or “four faces” for its resemblance to bricks.