Fiore Sardo P.D.O.
 
History
History

Fiore Sardo P.D.O. has always been considered the cheese of Sardinian sheep farmers, and, for centuries, it has counted as one of Sardinia’s highest produced product. According to several historical sources, the first varieties of Fiore Sardo date back to the Bronze Age. It has been produced by sheepherders for millennia. Living in their mountain huts built around a central fireplace, they would rest the cheese wheels that were in the beginning stages of their maturation process on a bed of reeds close to the fire, thus acquiring the characteristic smoky scent. The name Fiore Sardo is said to derive from the fact that, in ancient times, the flower of the cardoon was actually employed as natural rennet, or from the use of wooden stamps molded with an engraved flower on the disk that until recent times, served to distinguish and decorate the cheese.

 
 

Fiore Sardo P.D.O. is a cheese very typical of Sardinia. It is produced with 100% Sarda sheep’s milk and closely resembles the pecorino, except with significantly higher sides. The average cheese wheel weighs 3.5 kg, has a thin, firm, wrinkled crust that is grey or brown in color. The cheese itself is white, straw-yellow or ambercolored. It is firm and dry to the touch, and hard, friable and grainy on the tongue. It has an intense aroma of leather, spices and often smoke. It has a strong taste, slightly acidulous and rather sharp in the more mature wheels. The production technique is the same that was used at the dawn of civilization, which has essentially remained unchanged. The raw, freshly drawn, full-fat milk is placed in copper cauldrons and curdled at a temperature of approximately 35°C by using a lamb/kid rennet. After 20-30 minutes, the curd is broken down and ends up depositing at the bottom of the cauldron. Next, without any further cooking, the curd is gathered from the bottom of the cauldron and placed into its traditional shape of a truncated cone, called pischeddas. It is then subjected to pressure which, through a process called scalding, facilitates the purging of the whey and enhances the thickness of the crust. Once the cheese is firm enough, its wheel is extracted and left to rest for approximately 24 hours. The cheese is then salted in brine for 8 to 12 hours per kilo, and the wheels are later positioned on shrubs, usually next to the fire, where they are dried and smoked for approximately two weeks. Finally, they are ripened in cool, dry cellars for months until they reach their prime stage, after which they are periodically basted with a mixture of wine vinegar, olive oil and salt.

Production
Production
Production

Fiore Sardo P.D.O. is a cheese very typical of Sardinia. It is produced with 100% Sarda sheep’s milk and closely resembles the pecorino, except with significantly higher sides. The average cheese wheel weighs 3.5 kg, has a thin, firm, wrinkled crust that is grey or brown in color. The cheese itself is white, straw-yellow or ambercolored. It is firm and dry to the touch, and hard, friable and grainy on the tongue. It has an intense aroma of leather, spices and often smoke. It has a strong taste, slightly acidulous and rather sharp in the more mature wheels. The production technique is the same that was used at the dawn of civilization, which has essentially remained unchanged. The raw, freshly drawn, full-fat milk is placed in copper cauldrons and curdled at a temperature of approximately 35°C by using a lamb/kid rennet. After 20-30 minutes, the curd is broken down and ends up depositing at the bottom of the cauldron. Next, without any further cooking, the curd is gathered from the bottom of the cauldron and placed into its traditional shape of a truncated cone, called pischeddas. It is then subjected to pressure which, through a process called scalding, facilitates the purging of the whey and enhances the thickness of the crust. Once the cheese is firm enough, its wheel is extracted and left to rest for approximately 24 hours. The cheese is then salted in brine for 8 to 12 hours per kilo, and the wheels are later positioned on shrubs, usually next to the fire, where they are dried and smoked for approximately two weeks. Finally, they are ripened in cool, dry cellars for months until they reach their prime stage, after which they are periodically basted with a mixture of wine vinegar, olive oil and salt.

 
Consortium of Protection and Certification Body

Due to its historical, cultural and culinary importance, Fiore Sardo P.D.O. was awarded with the Protected Designation of Origin in 1996, and at the same time became a Slow Food Presidium, thanks to its artisanal production within small municipalities of the Barbagia, in the province of Nuoro. Since 2016, the Consorzio di Tutela del Formaggio Fiore Sardo D.O.P. [Consortium for the Protection of Fiore Sardo P.D.O. Cheese] has regrouped the producers of Sardinia, ensuring authenticity of the raw materials they work with, and encouraging the age-old tradition in their production methods.

Due to its historical, cultural and culinary importance, Fiore Sardo P.D.O. was awarded with the Protected Designation of Origin in 1996, and at the same time became a Slow Food Presidium, thanks to its artisanal production within small municipalities of the Barbagia, in the province of Nuoro. Since 2016, the Consorzio di Tutela del Formaggio Fiore Sardo D.O.P. [Consortium for the Protection of Fiore Sardo P.D.O. Cheese] has regrouped the producers of Sardinia, ensuring authenticity of the raw materials they work with, and encouraging the age-old tradition in their production methods.

 
In the kitchen
In the kitchen

Fiore Sardo P.D.O. is an excellent table cheese, if consumed when fresh, and can be served sliced or diced as an appetizer or aperitif. It is traditionally paired with ash-roasted potatoes or with a slice of bread, but is also used to make traditional desserts. On the other hand, mature cheese is more suitable for grating. It is used for pasta or polenta dishes, as well as for traditional Sardinian dishes. The recommended wines that pair well with Fiore Sardo P.D.O. are local red wines, like Cannonau for the fresher cheese and Malvasia di Bosa D.O.C with the more mature cheese, as this type pairs better with a more intense white wine.

Custom:

Fresh cheese is often used for the preparation of ravioli and seadas – a typical Sardinian cake; while mature cheese is considered a specialty among those many enthusiasts who prefer to enjoy it naturally with carasau bread and a nice glass of wine. Again, it is also excellent grated on pasta with tomato sauce.

 

 
 
Did you know?

Fiore Sardo P.D.O. has always been considered the cheese of Sardinian sheep farmers. The use of raw milk and local milk enzymes ensures the development of the natural milk microflora and thermolabile compounds such as vitamins and enzymes. The use of rennet enzymes (lamb or kid rennet, often handcrafted by the shepherd) gives to the cheese its typical sensory traits, including its unique spicy flavor.

(Source: Relationship between the enzymatic composition of lamb rennet paste and proteolytic, lipolytic pattern and texture of PDO Fiore Sardo ovine cheese
Autori: Antonio Pirisi, Giuliano Pinna, Margherita Addis, Giovanni Piredda, Rosalba Mauriello, Sabrina De Pascale, Simonetta Caira, Gianfranco Mamone, Pasquale Ferranti, Francesco Addeo, Lina Chianese).

Fiore Sardo P.D.O. has always been considered the cheese of Sardinian sheep farmers. The use of raw milk and local milk enzymes ensures the development of the natural milk microflora and thermolabile compounds such as vitamins and enzymes. The use of rennet enzymes (lamb or kid rennet, often handcrafted by the shepherd) gives to the cheese its typical sensory traits, including its unique spicy flavor.

(Source: Relationship between the enzymatic composition of lamb rennet paste and proteolytic, lipolytic pattern and texture of PDO Fiore Sardo ovine cheese
Autori: Antonio Pirisi, Giuliano Pinna, Margherita Addis, Giovanni Piredda, Rosalba Mauriello, Sabrina De Pascale, Simonetta Caira, Gianfranco Mamone, Pasquale Ferranti, Francesco Addeo, Lina Chianese).