Fresh ricotta is a taste sensation. Salted, baked or topped with olives, ricotta is sold in many different ways.
How is it made?
A morning with Giulio, the shepherd, making cheese and ricotta, and our questions are answered.
We clamber down the cow track towards a tiny open shed and are welcomed by Giuseppe, Giulio’s friend, who likes to spend time hiding in the hills.
They love climbing the old gnarled olive tree
Giulio arrives with wood for the fire
The cheese is made in this open shed.
Giulio is very particular that all the utensils he uses are washed in boiling water prior to being used, so a large pot of water is put over the fire to boil.
We are shown a cheese made yesterday, called a tuma in an old wicker basket. Today, wicker baskets are hard to find so plastic baskets are often used. These are not perfect as they can cut the cheese.
The goats milk is put into a large plastic container and left to set.
The perfect time to start making the cheese is when the fig wood stick stands upright and the whey is transparent.
The cheese is then taken and put into the basket
It is pressed to extract all of the whey
The finished tuma
The transparent whey from the cheese is then used to make ricotta. This can only happen if the whey has not previously been heated. It is put into a large pot and put over the fire. Extra goat’s milk, salt and hot water are added.
Slowly the ricotta solidifies and rises to the top
Impurities are skimmed from the top and the ricotta is put into containers
We taste the ricotta, straight from the pot.
You can’t beat the taste of freshly made warm ricotta.