Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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caciocavallo one of the principal and oldest cheeses of the south of Italy, is usually made from cow’s milk, although a mixture of cow’s and ewe’s milk is sometimes used. The compressed curd is fermented in hot whey and then sliced and covered with hot water to give it further elasticity and to permit shaping it into the typical caciocavallo forms, which are gourd- or spindle-like. A finished cheese has a pointed bottom and a neck and head at the top and weighs about 200 g (7 oz).

The cheeses are hung in pairs joined by a cord to drip-dry. One explanation (among several) of their name is that they then look like saddle bags: thus ‘cheese on horseback’ (cacio a cavallo, cacio being an old word for cheese).