Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sicilian cheese: la "Vastedda del Belice"

Do you know what is the so-called "vastedda del Belice"? It's a local exquisite cheese coming from the area of Belice, in the province of Agrigento.

The vastedda, which is the only "pasta filata cheese" (or stretched cheese) is made from sheep and has an ivory color. In the past it was produced only in Summer (from May to October) but now you find it all year round. The experts used to produce it in summer to try to recuperate the pecorino cheeses that had come out with some defects. Infact the name itself in Sicilian dialect vasta or vastedda means wrong, gone bad.

Basically these pecorini were stretched at high temperature, creating a new kind of oval-shaped cheese that was perfect to be eaten fresh in few days and it was extremely tasty too! Farmers started to eat it with bread and tomatoes at their lunch break in the fields. Nowadays this local cheese is a POD and is produced in the provinces of Agrigento, Palermo and Trapani. 

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