The farm as an art shop,
the cheese maker as an artist
in italiano )
cheese "Ragusano DOP" represents as a symbol the tradition
and the genuineness of this side of Sicily, an art handed
down from generation to generation into the "masseria" the
picturesque -farm, mostly a family business and house, which
characterizes with its presence the calcareous lands of
the Ragusa's country-side.
was born the "ragusano", in an atmosphere of old days, with
slowest gestures and processes, among wooden tools with
antique names. Creamy and energy-giving, the fresh milk
exhales the flavours of the sweet herbs of the Iblean plateau.
cheese maker, the casaro, first sifts and pours the milk
into a big wooden tub, so-called tina - not rarely copper
plated - and after adds some lamb's or kid's rennet paste,
he himself has prepared and dosed. The rennet needs about
one hour to curdle the milk. At this point the casaro stirs
the curd by a wooden staff, the ruotula - term that refers
to its disc-shaped end - breaking it to small pieces the
size of a lentil.
Meanwhile, 80° C's water is poured in for a first cooking.
Thus the curd is set into baskets, the vascedde (pl.), from
which arises the whey, the siero, that added of a 10% of
milk, provides the ricotta. The curd is cooked again, at
the same temperature, using the scotta, a residual of the
the curd goes back to the vascedda where completes its filtering
for some 2 hours and "rests" for about 20 hours, so as to
reach the ideal acidity and taste. The duration of this
process varies according to the average temperature of the
cheese making, and it is always the casaro who determines
dense paste so obtained is sliced and placed into the staccio,
a wooden or copper container where warm water is poured,
in order to make the paste rope.
process of shaping is hand made being a very delicate moment.
The cheese maker has carefully to join the paste's extremity
and to eliminate possible air-bubbles or gaps, eventually
hot, the now sphere of cheese is set into the mastreddda,
where it will lie one day and one night, getting dry and
assuming the classic parallelepiped-shape.
cheese is thus immersed in salted water for the first salting,
for a time shifting from 2 through 8 days, according to
the weight of the whole cheese.
comes the seasoning in places not rarely made out of original
caves, which due to their ideal conditions (cool and dark),
longtime have accomplished this task.
occurs the second seasoning, lasting some 30 days. Once
completed the process (according to his skilled reckoning),
the casaro hangs the cheese on wooden beams by the so-called
liame (ropes), checking it every 2 weeks. Then, according
to the degree of mellowness desired, the cheese is made
lying from 4 months to 1 year.
real masterpiece as you see, that, every piece of art, has
no duplicate. Each whole cheese always differs from the
Translated by Silvio
LA MASSERIA E' BOTTEGA D'ARTE, IL CASARO L'ARTISTA
Colazione o per dessert LE
GRANITE - passione siciliana
CON PIERO SELVAGGIO, modicano, ambasciatore della
cucina italiana nel mondo.
una grotta, nei pressi del Castello di Modica, Giuseppe
Lucifora ha ricavato un Museo di storia modicana dove si
possono gustare i succulenti piatti della vecchia tradizione