Journey through Calabrian PDO cheeses

Gourmet itinerary among the PDO cheeses of Calabria, from north to south

© Regione Calabria

Food and wine

Are you a fan of PDO cheeses from Calabria? Come and taste them all in the places where they are produced, from the sweet Caciocavallo Silano (Calabria) to the Pecorino di Monte Poro, and the famous Pecorino di Crotone.

Each of Calabria's PDO cheeses tells an ancient story, made up of strong links between local communities and the agro-pastoral world and a series of skills that have been handed down from one generation to the next.

We set out to discover the farms and dairies where you can taste the PDO Calabria cheeses, in the company of the traditional Calabrian cheesemakers. 

PDO Cheeses of Calabria

The pride of the Sila National Park, Caciocavallo Silano PDO (Calabria) is the temptation of every gourmand.

What could be better than a taste of grilled Caciocavallo Silano after a day's trekking or riding through the forests of Sila? The restaurants and dairies in the area welcome you with a nice slice of toasted homemade bread, on which the caciocavallo slowly melts, sizzling and releasing to the palate the unmistakable sweetness that comes from the mountain pastures.

You can find it in all three Silan provinces (Cosenza, Catanzaro and Crotone). How to distinguish it?

Among the PDO Calabria cheeses, caciocavallo is obtained from 4 consecutive milkings, to which calf rennet is added, leaving it to hang for about 30 days (if you prefer it matured).

Caciocavallo Silano DOP
Regione Calabria

Those who stop over in the Crotone area of Sila and decide to also visit the city of Crotone and its surroundings cannot fail to taste another delicacy among the Calabrian PDO cheeses: the famous Pecorino di Crotone.

Among the world-renowned branded cheeses, Pecorino Crotonese PDO is the product that unites the Sila mountains with the beautiful Ionian coast along the Costa dei Saraceni.

Pecorino di Crotone PDO is a hard, semi-cooked cheese made exclusively from whole sheep's milk. The flocks graze in the fields of the Sila National Park and among the suggestive gullies of the area from September to June, yielding fresh and aromatic milk, to which kid rennet paste is added. After salting, the typical basket-shaped cheeses are left to mature between 60 and 90 days in slightly ventilated rooms or sandstone caves.

At this point, the Pecorino di Crotone is ready! Excellent eaten au natural or in combination with typical Calabrian dishes, grated or melted.

Pecorino del Monte Poro
Dionisio iemma/Shutterstock

Another variety of pecorino, the prince of PDO cheeses in Calabria, is Pecorino del Monte Poro.

The mountain from which it comes is one of the most striking peaks in the province of Vibo Valentia, which differs from the neighbouring Serre Regional Park because of its mild climate due to the Tyrrhenian Sea and the varied vegetation. These are the characteristics that make Pecorino del Poro unmistakable: a sheep's milk cheese to which kid or lamb rennet is added, available fresh (20 to 60 days), semi-mature (2 to 6 months) and mature (6 to 24 months).

Perfect in Calabrian PDO cheese boards, in combination with the equally tasty Salumi di Calabria PDO, fresh broad beans, honey and various jams of local products. 

Tagliere salumi
Regione Calabria

We conclude our journey among the cheeses of Calabria in the Aspromonte National Park, where a delicacy is produced that, although it does not yet have PDO recognition, is worth tasting as it is a Slow Food Presidium and PAT (Traditional Agrifood Product): we are talking about the renowned Caprino d'Aspromonte, an aromatic cheese made from kid curd. Transferred to the typical reed fuscèlle, where it is pressed by hand, the wheel is decorated with ancient agro-pastoral symbols of Greek origin, making it a true work of art.

In the places of cheese in Calabria

Visiting pastoral communities, farms and dairies that produce PDO Calabria cheeses means coming into contact with a traditional dimension that has been able to renew itself, transferring the identity of a land of shepherds into the new chains of international excellence.

Pecorino del Monte Poro
Regione Calabria

From Sila to Aspromonte, the journey in the footsteps of Calabrian PDO cheeses combines the green of the forests and typical Mediterranean scrub with the blue of the main Calabrian coastline.

Unmissable stops and activities along the way?

An exploration of the Sila lakes, either on foot or by boat; or a ride on the timeless Sila Train (an original steam locomotive, operating in all seasons).

Not to be missed is an excursion to the Calanchi del Marchesato, in the Crotone area; to Mount Poro and to the Zungri Caves, in the province of Vibo Valentia; to the Greek communities in the Aspromonte mountains that practice traditional goat herding. 

Grotte di Zungri
Luca Fregola

Ultimo aggiornamento: May 6, 2024 12:36 PM