Pecorino is the Italian term for cheeses made from sheeps milk. Each 6 pound wheel of Pecorino Ginepro is soaked in an aromatic bath of balsamic vinegar and crushed juniper berries before it is aged for a minimum of four months. The dark brown rind is created by the vinegar, though the lingering finish is kissed with gin-juniper rather than acerbic acid. Wrapped in paper, which contains moisture, the cheese is always moldy, and benefits from a few hours’ breathing. An unusual and arresting cheese, made of raw sheep milk with a dry nutty flavor that is enhanced by the edible rind. This cheese is made in Lazio region of Italy and is aged between 4 and 6 months.
The flavoring process begins by bathing the cheese in oil and balsamic vinegar and then covering with a layer of crushed juniper berries for the next 4 to 5 months. In the aging process the juniper berries infuse the cheese with a pine forest aroma and the reddish brown rind is completely edible that adds a sweetness to the nuttiness of the cheese. Serve this cheese with a drizzle of lemon olive oil and raw reggies.
Pair this cheese with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Try Fiano di Avellino a pine scented white from Campania or a slightly tart Langhe Neviolo or Langhe Nebbiolo from Piemonte. Also pairs with crisp Lagers. Serve it with rustic and crusty bread and fresh pears and walnuts. This cheese also begs to be paired with a gin martini my favorite is the Last Word.
Cheese Type: Firm
Milk Type: Sheep Raw
Age: 4+ months
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Pecorino Ginepro
½ cup whole almonds
1 ½ pounds medium Brussels Sprouts cut in half
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ cup Pecorino Ginepro broken into to small pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Heat the oven to 500F. Place almonds on baking sheet and roast until fragrant (about 4 to 6 minutes). Coarsely chop and set to the side.
Place Brussels sprouts and oil in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, toss to coat evenly. Arrange Brussels sprouts cut side down in a single layer on baking sheet. Reserve bowl for use later. Roast, stirring halfway through, until brown and just tender (about 20 minutes, less for smaller brussels).
Transfer cooked Brussels sprouts to reserved bowl. Cool for 5 minutes. Add toasted almonds, cheese and lemon juice. Toss and season with salt and pepper.