Caciocavallo Silano is a unique type of cheese from Southern Italy. With a unique flavor, texture and shape, it is a cheese you definitely must try!
Caciocavallo Silano hung as it ages. Photo from Shutterstock copyright Nathan B Dappen
Caciocavallo Silano is a type of cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s a traditional and very rustic type of Italian cheese and has a distinct, almost teardrop-like shape that makes it easily identifiable. It’s a stringy semi-hard cheese, predominantly found in Southern Italy particularly in the region of Calabria. While the name may not be as recognizable as the more popular cheeses like mozzarella or parmesan, Caciocavallo Silano is still very much a unique and flavorful cheese that you should try.
The unique shape of Caciocavallo Silano makes it easy to identify. Photo from Shutterstock copyright marco mayer
The cheese is hand-stretched before it is pared with another piece of Caciocavallo Silano, before being strung together and hung in order to cure. This process, called “a cavallo,” is how some speculate this cheese got its name. The longer Caciocavallo Silano is allowed to sit and age, the more its flavor and texture change. At 2 months, the cheese is soft with a firm rind that is still edible. It has a mild, slightly salty flavor and firm, smooth texture. As it ages beyond 2 months, the flavor becomes more pungent and the texture more granular, making it ideal for grating. At this point, it can even take the place of Parmesan or Provolone in many recipes and dishes.
Caciocavallo Silano is flexible enough to be incorporated into many dishes, but also robust enough to be the main attraction in its own. Most major food markets won’t carry Caciocavallo Silano, so you may be forced to look online in order to import it directly from Italy. However, there are a number of smaller shops and speciality stores that will carry this rare delicacy. Rossi’s Deli in Poughkeepsie, NY carries Caciocavallo Silano in-store, if you’re willing to make a trip.
Scacciata, or Sicilian Cheese Pie, is a well known, traditional recipe that utilizes Caciocavallo Silano as the filling. Try it for yourself!