WHAT IS FIORE SARDO?
Invented during the Bronze Age, Fiore Sardo is also known as Pecorino Sardo. It is a raw, sheep’s milk cheese which is sometimes blended with cow’s milk. After molding the curds and brining Sardo, the wheel is lightly smoked with bark from cork trees. This formaggio is then aged for about 6 months.
Fiore Sardo means the “Flower of Sardinia”. It is one of the more respected members of the Pecorino family (similar to the respected Pecorino Toscano and a bit less like the Pecorino Romano). As with most foods, the terroir of Sardinia with its tall mountains, rainless summers and soaking autumns has flavored the local milk since 16 B.C.
WHERE IS FIORE SARDO MADE?
It is made in Italy on the island of Sardinia. One of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, it is located halfway between Italy and Africa. The island’s limestone peaks are over 500 million years old. Dry summers are occasionally punctuated by brutal thunderstorms, followed by rainy autumns. Nonetheless, people have lived on the island for thousands of years. Today it is a self-governing region of Italy.
YEP, THIS IS THE MAGGOT CHEESE PLACE.
One of the more famous cheese images, Sardinia is home to Casu marzu a.k.a. the maggot cheese. It is similar to a Pecorino Sardo. But cheese flies inject their eggs into the cheese. Left outside, this formaggio continues to ferment. Bit by bit, the maggots start to grow. As the cheese leaks more and more liquid, wriggling white worms grow in size.
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH FIORE SARDO?
Italy has no shortage of beautiful wines, and Chianti is always a safe bet. Alsatian whites or sweet whites in general pair well. Likewise a Red Burgundy can stand up to the stronger flavors of a mature sheep’s milk formaggio. For an Italian cheese flight try a Fontina Val d’Aosta and a gorgonzola dolce. Want to go more international, then pair with a French Livarot and Spanish Idiazabal.