Caciotta of the Elimi
Product included in the national list of traditional agri-food products (PAT)
PAT type: Cheeses
Production area: Calatifimi, Vita.
Technical data sheet of the traditional agri-food product (PAT)
Area of production: Calatifimi, Vita.
Brief description of the product: Compact cheese made with sheep's milk from the Belice Valley which undergoes a fermentation during the ripening period that totally differentiates it from other pecorino cheeses. The name Caciotta stands for small cheese since it is produced in 1 kg pieces. Up to 4 kg., The Elimi instead were ancient inhabitants of Segesta who then founded Calatafimi.
Processing technology: The sheep's milk from Valle del Belice coming from one or more milkings at a temperature of 36 ° C is coagulated in copper or steel boilers with the aid of lamb rennet in paste, after about 30 minutes the curd is brought at a temperature of about 42 ° C and subsequently broken with the aid of a wooden "patella" tool into small fragments like grains of rice, then the cheesy mass is placed in rush or plastic baskets where it remains for about 24 hours after it is placed in saturated brine. When it comes out of the brine, it is placed in the maturing rooms where it remains for a minimum period of three months and then can be sent for consumption.
Specific materials and equipment used for preparation and conditioning: Wooden vat, wooden "patella" stick, "cannara" cane trellis, rush or plastic baskets, wooden boards, tinned copper or steel boiler.
Description of the processing, storage and maturing rooms: Processing and storage rooms must be healthy and hygienically acceptable. The cheese is aged in cool and ventilated cellars.
Elements proving that the methodologies have been practiced in a homogeneous way and according to traditional rules for a period of not less than 25 years: Caciotta degli Elimi has deep roots in the production area; Legend has it that a family of Calafimesi moved to Sardinia in order to escape a mafia revenge at the end of the nineteenth century and since they were shepherds they continued to do so.
Back in Sicily they began to make the aforementioned cheese which partly derives from the Sardinian tradition mixed with the Sicilian dairy culture.
Source Pat Cards: Sicily Region
Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero
Information contributions: Web, Region of Sicily
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