Pecorino Ginepro is an Italian semi-soft cheese made from 100% sheep’s milk or sheep’s milk mixed with cow’s milk. Classic Pecorino or Caciotta di Pecorino is one of the classic cheeses of Tuscany and Sardegna appearing on tables from breakfast through dinner time. It is served mostly as an eating cheese rather than a grating cheese. It differs from Pecorino Romano, the slightly salty grating cheese with sharp flavor, made in Lazio.
Often pecorino is served sliced as part of a breakfast buffet, an antipasto platter, mixed into a salad, layered into sandwiches, or softened with cream to make a sauce. It is classically paired with salumi, pears, and fava beans. When selecting pecorino, the main difference is the aging. 1 to 2 months aging yields a young cheese that is fresh and supple, while up to one year aging produces a firm eating or grating cheese with assertive flavor. Sometimes the rind of pecorino is rubbed or grated onto food to give a subtle taste twist. Dark gray or black ash, diluted saffron, tomato paste, or chili paste are popular additions rubbed into the rind. In Tuscany, pecorino is nestled on noci leaves or walnut leaves, and left to age for 6 to 8 months until the cheese absorbs the fragrance and has a mild, nutty flavor.
Pecorino Ginepro is a raw sheep’s milk cheese made in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and also sold in the USA. Rubbing the rind with juniper berries or ginepro, and then balsamic vinegar, over a 2-month aging period gives an intriguing depth of flavor that many pecorinos lack. In the photo, notice the dark rind colored by the balsamic vinegar. With a slightly creamy finish, it is delicious paired with pears, fava beans, and walnuts, and makes a great-tasting cheese sauce.