The 5 best Italian pecorino cheese

Pecorino cheese is one of the things that make Italy great. You may think of France as the most famous producer of cheese, and that might be true, but Italy has a lot to say when we talk about cheese. The quality of Italian pecorino cheese it’s flawless and after you try them you’ll understand. Here we try to give you an idea of what the Italian pecorino is like, but we invite you to try it directly and tell us your opinion.

The taste of pecorino cheese can vary from subtle and delicate of the fresh pecorino, to a stronger flavour and aroma if you choose the aged pecorino, however the flavour will never be too strong in my opinion and should never be pungent.

The pecorino cheese can be consumed in three main ways:

  • On its own: accompanied by something sweet like mustard, honey, onion jam or similar. This is absolutely great for apertivi, appetisers and starters.
  • Grated on pasta dishes: did I mention “spaghetti all carbonara”, “spaghetti cacio e pepe” and other amazing pasta dishes? They are made with Pecorino Romano: the roman pecorino. And the “gnocchetti sardi” are topped with Pecorino Fiore Sardo: Sardinian pecorino.
  • Wine pairing. The pecorino cheese is rich in flavour and aroma and it also has a firm consistency which makes it great to pair with a good bottle of wine. Red or White? It doesn’t matter, whichever you like. You can pair it with a mineral white wine like a white Vermentino di Gallura from Sardinia or with a Chianti Riserva from Tuscany or even a Nero D’Avola from Sicily.

The 5 best pecorino cheese

The order is just because I need to put them in order but it would be unfair to rank them as they are all amazing.

  1. I start from the Pecorino DOP Toscano – pecorino cheese from Tuscany – because it’s one of the most flexible pecorino cheese, you can buy it quite fresh, only 2-3 months of ageing or a more aged if you prefer a stronger taste and aroma. The aged one is also suitable for grating. The best brands to buy are the Pecorino Toscano DOP which is certified certification of protected origin PDO
  2. Pecorino di Pienza. Pienza is a town in Tuscany that is famous for the pecorino cheese. Pecorino di Pienza is available in three types: the fresh; semi-aged (60 days) and aged. The semi-aged is my favourite as it balances the flavour and the conistency and the result is a pecorino cheese that is wonderful to be eaten alone or paired with red wine from Tuscany. The typical red color of the skin of the semi-aged pecorino comes from the tomato juice used on the rind as a protective coating.
  3. Pecorino Fiore Sardo di Sardegna. The sheep cheese from Sardegna is typically a semi-stagionato which means it’s neither too hard or too soft, it’s just perfect to eat it like that, just cut a thin slice (not too thin) and eat it. You will appreciate the rich and balanced flavour. If you love Sardegna you could organise a “Sardinian theme” dinner and have pecorino fiore sardo, gnocchetti sardi and vermentino di Gallura, but that would be pushing it a little. 😉
  4. Pecorino Romano. The pecorino romano is the cheese that is used in all the Roman pasta recipes from “Amatriciana” to “Cacio and Pepe”. But it’s also good for a starter as it has a balance taste.
  5. Pecorino with Truffle “Pecorino al Tartufo”. Is another specialty of Tuscany. As you know Tuscany is one of the regions famous for the truffle, in particular the area of Urbino. The pecorino with truffle is worth trying if you like truffle. It’s not expensive and it’s not like eating pure truffle but you can enjoy the aroma of it.
Pecorino with black truffle
Pecorino di Pienza semi aged

Age of pecorino:

Fresh: less than 40 days of aging

Semi-aged (semi-stagionato): 40 to 50 days of aging

Aged (pecorino stagionato): up to 90 days.