World Cheese Encyclopaedia - Each Sunday learn all about a new cheese.
This week Stracciata from Italy.
Country: Italy 🇮🇹
Made from: Cow’s milk
Texture: Soft, elastic, rindless
Taste: Milky, mild, buttery, fresh
Aging: None – it is a fresh cheese
Stracciata is a fresh cheese from Molise in Italy. It is made only in the Molise area in the towns of Agnone, Capracotta, Carovilli, and Vastogirardi, in the province of Isernia. The area is recognized by the UNESCO world heritage sites for its biodiversity.
Its name comes from the Italian verb, "stracciare", meaning 'to tear' because the cheese is produced by tearing the stretched curd into characteristic long rubbery strands.
Stracciata is delicate with an intense milky flavor. It is bright white and does not have any rind.
The “stracciata” comes in a wide flat strip folded over on itself, and sometimes braided. Depending on when it is made, the color can change from bright white to having a slightly yellowish hue. The yellowish hue appears in the spring and summer when the cows are grazing in the mountain fields.
Stracciata is hand-made using a time-honored technique. The cheese is made by pouring boiling water over natural-yeast, raw cow milk curds. The curd is cut or torn, and it is then stretched into ribbons by being pulled from a wooden basin. The ribbons are then folded or braided.
On the outside, it is mild, buttery, sweet, fresh, and a little salty, while the inside has a pleasant milky flavor and is a little piquant. It melts in the mouth, leaving notes of warm melted butter on the palate.
As Stracciata is a fresh cheese it should be consumed quite quickly, but will last up to 5 days if kept properly.
Stracciata was created by the Di Nucci family after World War II. The family relocated from the town of Capracotta – where they owned a cow farm – to the larger town of Agnone where there were better working opportunities and to continue the family tradition of cheese-making. Stracciata was born to celebrate this important relocation and soon became a traditional cheese of the region.
It is traditionally eaten freshly-made together with prosciutto between two warm slices of bread. This is a typical antipasto served at weddings in Molise and also for parties or receptions.
How to Enjoy It
It is traditional to eat stracciata with prosciutto, local Molise olive oil, and crusty bread. It can also be served with cured meats, cold cuts or grilled vegetables. Try it together with salad and tomatoes as a summer lunch. It pairs well with a local sparkling white such as Locorotondo Spumante or a local sweet red wine such as Aleatico di Puglia Liquoroso.
Sources: aglioolioepeperoncino.com, masseriamontepizzi.com, Wikipedia.com, tasteatlas.com, World Cheese Book by DK, grapeoccassions.com