The Vastedda della Valle del Belice D.O.P. is a historical Sicilian cheese produced in the homonymous valley, which has recently received the recognition (D.O.P.) controlled designation of origin. It’s a fresh cheese, unique in its type: in fact, it’s the only one from sheep milk produced using the ancient spinning technique.
The Vastedda della Valle del Belice is produced following the production guidelines approved by the Ministry. The raw whole sheep milk is coagulated in a wooden bucket at 38-39°C with the addition of lamb rennet paste for about 45-50 minutes. The curd is broken with a traditional wooden tool called “rotula” until becoming the size of a grain of rice and hot water is added at a temperature of about 70°C allowing the serum to flush out. The excess serum is removed and the tuma cheese is flushed by hand after being placed in reed baskets called “precentini”. The resulting cheese is allowed to rest on a sink table for 24-48 hours, according to the room temperature. Once the curd is aged, which as naturally acidified, it is cut in thin slices and immerged in serum or hot water and spun; the cheese is worked using a wooden spatula and after by hand; finally, it is placed in typical ceramic bowls and allowed to rest for 12-24 hours. After, the cheese is salted in brine with sea salt from Trapani.
It has a unique oval shape, which has been given by pressing a portion of the spun cheese in a bowl. The sizes vary from 500 g to 700 g. It’s without a crust, but there is a very thin skin due to the air-drying process. The texture is compact and soft with an ivory-white color. The aroma is of milk, butter and yogurt. The flavor is sapid with a pleasantly acidic aftertaste, which recalls milk and yogurt and it’s possible to find notes of various herbs, based on the production period.
VASTEDDA DEL BELICE DOP 500g - FORMAGGI ALCANTARA
Vastedda is enhanced with olive oil, oregano, fresh tomato or with orange jam. It can be accompanied by both white and red wines, thanks to its fresh and delicate flavor. The best combination is obtained with typical Sicilian wines such as Nero d'Avola, Merlot, and Syrah.