The sheep are looked after by her son and her grandson Daniele and together Maria and Daniele make Pecorino and Ricotta cheeses.
Once the cheese has risen the Pecorino is salted and can be eaten after 15 days.
and finally the finished product.
The young cheese is fresh and milky tasting and good to eat but as it ages it turns into something much nuttier and delicious with many complex layers of flavour.
The leftover whey is heated to 60 degrees then more cold milk is added. The temperature is then raised to 85 degrees and at that temperature the ricotta curds start to form. The final touch sees the addition of magnesium salt.
The Ricotta is less flavoursome than the Pecorino but is great as a creamy addition to pastries or pancakes such as the chestnut flour ‘Necci’ we were to eat the very same evening.
Maria complains to us about the physical work involved in making the cheese and it is clear that she won’t want to continue this work much longer. But for all of us it is so important the men and women like her keep these traditions going, that we can retain that crucial connection between the land, the animals that graze on the land and the food we eat.