[Sca-cooks] Caciocavallo cheese

Christiane Truelove christianetrue at earthlink.net
Sun May 20 12:44:21 PDT 2012

The cheese wasn't called Caciocavallo because it was carried in saddlebags; it got that name because it was hung up to dry by tying it in the middle. The shape the cheese took on looked like saddlebags slung over a horse's back. 

The cheese today is typically made from cow's milk, but probably originally was a sheep's milk cheese. When it's aged, it resembles provolone. In Sicily, well-aged Caciocavallo is grated over pasta like Romano.

There are Caciocavallo- type cheeses in Spain, but I don't think the Spanish imported much cheese from their Southern Italian kingdom. Aged Caciocavallo does keep well, though, so it would make a good journey cheese.


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On May 20, 2012, at 3:04 PM, sca-cooks-request at lists.ansteorra.org wrote:

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>   1. Re: Caciocavallo - Saddlebag cheese! (Elise Fleming)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 19 May 2012 15:24:44 -0400
> From: Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com>
> To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Caciocavallo - Saddlebag cheese!
> Message-ID: <4FB7F37C.5060709 at ix.netcom.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> (snip)
> <- two round, flask-shaped cheeses hanging side by side and dried over a
>> sturdy branch. Made traditionally from sheep or cow's milk, it's
>> everywhere in the Greek south of Italy, once Magna Graecia, and indeed
>> is first mentioned in Hippocrates, I believe, around 500BC. Looks good,
>> very decorative, Tastes of nothing much and has a poor texture, sorry.
> (more snip_
>> My additions:
>> Washington Irving, when the US ambassador to Spain, rode to Granada 
>> with cheese in his saddlebags in the latter part of the 19th C where 
> he >wrote Tales of the Alhambra. Henry IV (1425-1474), older brother of 
>> Isabel the Catholic of Castile rode with cheese and sausage in his 
>> saddle bags along with everyone else in the Middle Ages. This cheese 
>> beginning to make sense. . .
>> Suey
> I am confused.  Are you saying that Washington Irving specifically 
> carried this Italian cheese in his saddlebags?  Or is there just a 
> mention somewhere of him carrying some type of cheese (for his lunch?) 
> on his horse?
> Was this caciocavallo cheese imported into Spain in the mid-1400s? 
> Would it have survived the trip?  Weren't there any Spanish cheeses that 
> Henry IV would have taken on horseback?
> I'm missing something here.  Taking cheese along on horseback, wrapped 
> up in one's saddlebags, would seem to be fairly commonplace for a 
> traveler.  But does that mean that it would have to be caciocavallo from 
> Italy?
> Alys K.
> -- 
> Elise Fleming
> alysk at ix.netcom.com
> alyskatharine at gmail.com
> http://damealys.medievalcookery.com/
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/8311418@N08/sets/
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