Caciocavallo (Caciocavallo) - a typical Italian southerner and concurrently cheese category Pasta Filata (Pasta Filata). The name literally translates as "horseback riding cheese", and they produce it in the form of a bag. And, although the cachocavallo plays an important role in the culinary tradition of Italy, it owes its recipe to another country. Let’s find out what this cheese rider is famous for.
The history of Kachokavallo originates in Greece, where the Romans borrowed his recipe. Hippocrates (a Greek healer and philosopher who lived between 460-370 BC) wrote about his production in one of his books on the art of food and cooking.
Later, Pliny the Elder (22-79 CE) in his treatise on cheeses emphasized the unique characteristics of “butirro” (the ancestor of the present Caccocavallo), calling it a “delicate food product”.
Over time Cachocavallo managed to maintain all its nutritional characteristics thanks to traditional production methods. Due to this, cheese was widely distributed in southern Italy.
There are several versions of the origin of his name:
- According to one of them, it is believed that kachokavallo is named so because of the unusual method of ripening. It is tied with a rope in two and hung up to dry on a horizontal bar.
- The second version claims that the name appeared during the time of the Kingdom of Naples (Regno di Napoli), when a horse logo was stamped on the surface of the cheese.
- According to the third hypothesis, the kachokavallo got its name from nomad shepherds, who processed milk directly in the fields and, setting off on the road to sell it, hung cheese in bags on the backs of horses.
In the Balkans, to this day there is cow's milk cheese called Kashcaval, in connection with which some scholars say that the kokokavallo appeared on the territory of the republic with its own name, which eventually got an Italian sound.
In 1996, Caciocavallo Silano was categorized as a protected product by origin (DOP).
They produce cacocavallo in several regions of Italy: Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Puglia, Abruzzo, Sardegna, Sicilia. Only the first five of them receive raw materials and make Cachocavallo Silano DOP.
Cowcavallo is produced using cow's milk, which can be mixed with sheep’s. The Silano variety is made exclusively from cow's milk.
The process of preparing cheese begins with the coagulation of milk by heating to 36-38 degrees with rennet, obtained from calves or kids. Some plants also add serum remaining on the previous day. A few minutes after reaching the required temperature, a curd clot forms, which the cheese maker breaks into pieces the size of a hazelnut.
Next is the clot maturation stage, lasting 4-10 hours. During this time, the master takes small samples, immersing them in hot, but not boiling, water. If the lump becomes rubber and stretches without breaks, then this indicates the end of the process.
Then the separated parts of the curd dough of the required size are immersed in hot water and manually form smooth balls without internal voids, which are then given the finished look of a "bag".
Ready heads are washed in cold water and immersed in saline for at least 6 hours. The salted cheese is tied in two and hung on a horizontal bar for ripening, which lasts at least 30 days. But a mature cachocavallo at the age of about a year is especially appreciated.
There is a smoked variety of Cococavallo (Caciocavallo affumicato). It can withstand more than 60 days, and for smoking use firewood or dried straw.
The most characteristic feature of a kachokavallo is its shape - it looks like a bag with a large, oval body below and a small, round part on top. The two parts are separated by a rope, usually made from plant materials. Few people know, but having a top head is optional, and some manufacturers release a product without it. The weight of the heads can be from 0.5 to 2.5 kg.
The crust of cheese is smooth and thin enough, light yellow. The color becomes more intense as the cheese ripens. The smoked version has a golden brown surface. Some types of kachokavallo cover with a thin layer of paraffin, so its crust becomes inedible.
The curd mass of the young Cachocavallo is white, elastic, the taste is sweet and delicate. The dough of mature cheese acquires a straw hue, typical holes appear, the taste becomes spicy and pungent. The aroma of Caciocavallo affumicato is bright with smoky notes.
- Read also: what is the difference between scorona, provolone and kachokavallo
How they eat
Cachocavallo is ideal for independent use, as well as for many dishes. In southern Italy, it is often accompanied by rustic bread made from durum wheat. Puglia residents, for example, prefer Almatura bread (Pane di Altamura), which belongs to the DOP category.
Cheese will enrich the taste of many recipes. In grated form, it is used to make classic pasta, pizza, baked vegetables (eggplant, zucchini).
Aged kachokavallo with a sharp taste, perfectly harmonizes with salami. A smoked version is often used to give a smoky flavor to the first dishes.
Young cheese is wonderful in combination with fruits (pears, melons), balsamic vinegar, red onions, berries (cherries, cherries), nuts and dried fruits. Those who like taste contrasts should try kachokavallo with chestnut honey, which has a slight bitterness in the aftertaste.
Wine selection is based on the age of the cheese. A young, sweet version is suitable for white wine with a bitter taste, for example, Soave Superiore, produced in the province of Verona. Aged cachocavallo requires medium-maturity red wine: Aglianico del Vulture, Ciro Rosso classico.
And again, we have in stock a simple homemade recipe for an unusual dish.
All you need for the original Italian pancakes is:
- 300 g of cacocavallo;
- 150 g breadcrumbs;
- 5 eggs;
- 1 tbsp. a spoonful of milk;
- Parsley, nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste;
- 100 g of flour;
- Cooking oil for frying;
- Lemon (optional).
So, mix breadcrumbs, finely grated cheese and 3 eggs in a suitable container. Mix and, if the crackers are not soaked, add milk, and then seasonings and knead well again. From the resulting mass, we form small balls the size of a walnut, roll them in flour and beaten eggs, fry in warmed vegetable oil until golden brown. It is better to eat such pancakes hot, sprinkled with lemon juice a little and sprinkled with grated zest. Bon Appetit, dear readers!
Calorie content and benefits
Cachocavallo refers to enough high-calorie cheeses. Its nutritional value per 100 g consists of:
- 439 kcal;
- Proteins 37, 56 g;
- Fats 31.3 g;
- Carbohydrates 1.86 g;
- Cholesterol 92 mg.
Due to the high calorie content, the recommended daily norm of the kococavallo for healthy people should not exceed 40-50 g.
Based on a portion of 50 g, the useful properties of cheese can be noted:
- Provides the body with 38% daily protein requirementnecessary for the synthesis of many substances in the body;
- It is a source of 430 mg of calcium (54% of DN) and 295 mg of phosphorus (37% of DN) - elements of healthy development of bones, teeth, muscles and nervous system;
- Covers 26% of Vitamin A Daily Requirementwhich is responsible for visual acuity and skin health, and 15% - riboflavin, which is involved in hematopoiesis, in the work of the immune system and reproductive organs;
You should not get too carried away with people with high blood pressure, due to the high enough sodium content.
Price in Italy and Russia per kg
You can only be satisfied with an authentic kachokavallo while in Italy. Due to its wide distribution, you will be able to find it in almost any cheese boutique at a price of 8.5 to 20 Euro per kg, depending on age. Although some manufacturers can offer you their goods at a fairly high cost, reaching up to 40 euros for aged cheese.
Domestic large factories can boast of a kococavallo prepared in Russia using Italian technology. The price of such a product is from 1400 to 1900 rubles per 1 kg. At the same time, the often offered packaging is 250, 350 g.
On this, the possible information about the cachocavallo is fully exhausted. Live smartly, eat beautifully, travel with excitement and remember how Italian nomadic shepherds used to say: "First of all, they donate a gift horse to a kokokavallo on its back, and don't check your teeth!"