Murazzano PDO is a fresh fat cheese produced with sheep’s milk obtained from animals belonging to the delle Langhe breed, pure or with mixed sheep’s milk, minimum 60%, with the possible addition of cow’s milk (maximum 40%).
The milk comes from two daily milkings of animals fed with green fodder or dry hay that is predominantly from the production area. Curdling takes place with the addition of liquid rennet, at around 37°C. The obtained curd is broken and mixed until it reaches the right consistency. The product is then shaped using cylindrical molds with holes, called fascelle, which were traditionally made from wood before passing to steel. The cheese is dry salted before being left to ripen for a minimum of four days. During this time, the processing method involves the cheese being washed quickly every day with tepid water. If Murazzano PDO is produced with 100% sheep’s milk, it may indicate “pura pecora” (Sheep’s Milk) either on the label or packaging.
Appearance and Flavour
Murazzano PDO has a cylindrical shape, with a diameter of 10-15 cm and slightly fringed flat surfaces; the edge is about 3-4 cm high and it has a variable weight of 300 to 400 g. The cheese is milk-white in colour, with a soft and fine-grained consistency and the possible presence of eyes. There is no rind; the skin of the fresh cheese is milk-white in colour. With aging, a soft thin rind may appear, with a fine undercrust. The flavour is mild and delicately fragrant, tending to become stronger with piquant notes with aging. Murazzano PDO “pura pecora” is characterised by an intense smell and a strong taste of sheep’s milk.
The production area of Murazzano PDO is within the territory of the hilly area known as “Langhe”, incorporating 50 municipalities in the Province of Cuneo, in the Piedmont region.
Murazzano PDO is the most antique cheese of the Robiole del Piemonte typology. There are many legends about its origins, but historically this cheese was invented at the time of the Celts and is a descendent of the Astigiani cheeses described by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. The origin of the name derives from the area where the cheese is mainly produced; the Municipality of Murazzano. This cheese was once produced exclusively with sheep’s milk; today this type of cheese is produced in modest quantities and is therefore the most prestigious. In the past, it was produced by the women of Alta Langa who, on market day, went to Murazzano to sell the cheese to shop owners, who in turn took them down to the shops in the lowland cities, arriving as far as Turin. The history of this food product is closely linked to that of the Cuneo women, who took care of the sheep, milking them and producing the cheese.
Murazzano PDO should be conserved in a sealed plastic or glass container and placed in the least cold compartment of the fridge. To best appreciate the flavour, Murazzano PDO should be removed from the fridge about one hour before consumption. Optimal as a table cheese, it can also be eaten as dessert, either on its own or with ground pepper and a drop of extra virgin olive oil.
The product is marketed as Murazzano PDO, with the possible mention of “pura pecora” for cheeses produced exclusively from sheep’s milk. It is sold year-round, whole or in large pieces. It must be packaged in the characteristic triangular paper bearing the designation, product logo and European logo.
The unique organoleptic properties of Murazzano PDO, such as the delicate aroma and mild taste, are given to the specific qualities of the milk of the native delle Langhe sheep, which are contributed to by the aromatic variety of the pasture grasses used to feed the animals.