Posted by fallback user
11 September, 2012
Category Our Favourites
Testun Occelli al Barolo is an ancient Italian mountain cheese made from a mix of sheep’s and goats’ milk. This hard cheese is packed in “grape must” resulting from the production of Barolo wine, infusing the cheese with an amazing, decadent, vinous flavour.
The origin of the cheese in Italian folklore makes a great story for the dinner table. The legend says the cheese was originally produced by accident, after it was concealed in a wine barrel and then forgotten during the time when hiding food was a necessity to avoid it being stolen. When the cheese was rediscovered the intense winey flavour proved a surprising success.
Producer Beppino Occelli has been farming since 1976. He has a special relationship with the land and his animals. His story is rooted in his profound love for the land of his birth – the Langhe and the Alps – from which his creations and personal interpretations of traditional products are derived. His flocks of sheep and herds of goats freely roam the valleys of Cuneo, as far as the pastures of Castelmagno and Valgrana, reaching Valcasotto where the best wheels of great mountain cheeses are finally left to cure and ripen in the old aging cellars.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Testun Occelli al Barolo is aged for at least five months before being refined for two more months in the Langa vineyards where it is coated with the pressed grapes used to make Barolo wine – the flavours of the cheese and grapes mingle together to create a flavour that is creamy, sweet, winey, buttery and sharp all at once (testun loosely translates to ‘hard-headed’, referring to the texture of the cheese). Once you cut through the coating of crushed grapes, the texture is flaky and melt-in-your mouth soft. In 1999, producer Beppino Occelli was awarded ‘Best Drunken Cheese’ by the Slow Food Festival for this special and unique cheese we are so proud to have on our dessert menu at Piccolino (£7.75) and as part of our salumeria e latticini selection at Cicchetti Bar (£4) in London.