Caciocavallo podolico is semi-hard, pear-shaped, pasta filata (pulled-curd) cheese. It is made using milk from the big podolica cow breed – an ancient Asian breed that reached Italy during the time of the Etruscans and today is raised only in the southern regions of Italy (Campania, Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia). Living in the wild, these cows produce only small qualities of particularly flavorful and scented with the aromas of gentian, strawberry and licorice.
The flavor of the cheese varies based on where it is produced and the type of rennet used: the more delicate cheeses are made with veal rennet, the brighter cheeses with goat rennet. The strange name of this cheese comes refers to how it is aged – hung as a pair in a hung over a wooden beam a cavallo (like a horse’s saddle.) The cheese has an oblong shape, a shiny rind and cream paste that yellows with aging and separates into layers.
Caciocavallo podolico is an unique, hard-to-find cheese and every wheel has its own characteristics tied to the customs of where it was made.