My coworker, Rondo, was shopping at her local co-op and came across an Italian cheese, Moliterno, that made her think of me. It’s easy to see why as there are only 3 letters of difference between the name of this cheese and my own (real) last name. Mispronunciations/misspellings of various people’s names has become a bit of a joke at work of late, so it was doubly appropriate.
I spoke to another colleague & fellow turophile Perlagrigia and arranged a lunchtime cheese tasting at work. A midday errand ran long and frustrating, so it was all the more wonderful to have this appointment waiting for me upon my belated, exasperated return.
I did bring in some Scottish oatcakes from home to accompany the cheese. Rondo had snapped that pic of the label at the co-op and sent it to me, while Perlagrigia kindly agreed to be photographer. She has spent a lot of time on the Boot and knew that Moliterno’s place of origin, Basilcata, was down in the Southern half of the country. I just looked it up and saw that, in fact, this region is right in the arch of the famous shape.
I liked the moldy edge to the cheese. Sometimes, I am brave and eat it, but this one was a bit too green, though still pretty, in its own unique way. There was another work colleague, Di.Vino, sitting near us and I asked her to join us in the tasting. By happenstance, there we were, three Italian-American cheese fiends, hacking away at a hunk of formaggio from the old country.
At some point during the tasting, Perlagrigia commented that it reminded her a bit of a Manchego, though it was a bit less bitter. Around the time we hit the back edge of the Moliterno, I turned to her and said that this cheese seemed to be somewhere between a Manchego and a Pecorino and she agreed completely. This is not really that surprising since those are all sheep milk’s cheeses, but with the addition of goat’s milk, I think it becomes a bit more tangy. I love the idea that after being formed, the cheese is left to hang in wicker baskets, and also that it’s rubbed with olive oil. I would imagine that this second step imparts that softer edge to the combination of the sheep’s & goat’s milks.
So, here’s to bumbling over tricky those “foreign” names and it leading to a delicious cheese tasting party at work!