Canestrato di Moliterno is one of the most characteristic Lucanian cheeses. Awarding it the Igp, with the denomination of “Storeroom-seasoned Canestrato di
Moliterno”, was a well-deserved recognition of its prestige. The wide
milk production area faithfully follows the ancient paths used for transferring the flocks of sheep from one pasture to another.
In fact Canestrato is obtained from sheep and goat’s milk coming from flocks that are reared and left to graze in a good 60 municipalities of Basilicata.
Canestrato di Moliterno is a hard sheep and goat’s milk cheese made with the whole milk of sheep (70-90%) and goats. It is cylindrical in shape, about 20 cm in diameter and 10 –15 cm high with a weight that varies from between 2.1 and 5.5 kg.
With its slightly spicy flavour, it is a table cheese when it is fresh and, when seasoned, can also be grated.
The various types of Canestrato, the result of different degrees of seasoning,
mean that it may be used in many ways.
The “primitive”, with just 6 months seasoning, which was the first to be exported to America in days gone by, can be eaten by itself or even used
in modern dishes such as a salad with slices of Alta Val d’Agri apples.
Mature Canestrato (when seasoned for up to 12 months) can be grated over one of the Lucanian country kitchen dishes, like ricotta ravioli, cavuzuni or fusilli, or, as they are called, maccaruni or firricieddu.
Finally, extra Canestrato, when seasoning exceeds a year, deserves special attention.
It can be enjoyed with Lucanian honey or accompanied by a glass
of full-bodied red wine, like Doc Aglianico del Vulture.