Pecorino Moliterno al Tartufo
Produced on the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy, Pecorino Moliterno al Tartufo is a raw sheep's milk cheese shot through with thick veins of truffle.
Somewhat unusually for a flavor added cheese, the truffle element is added post-production and after some aging has taken place, by injecting the pecorino with a paste made of black truffles. This process allows the cheese to develop its own flavors and for the texture to "break down" before the addition of the truffle.
During the five month maturation period, the wheels are rubbed with vinegar and local olive oil. These flavors, combined with the truffle, spread throughout the cheese, balancing the rich earthy notes of the sheeps milk.
As a result of the "injection" method, the interior paste is very striking. Instead of the truffle being evenly flecked throughout (as in Sottoncenere, for instance), Pecorino Moliterno al Tartufo has wide, deep veins, rather like a truffle "motherlode". Consequently, the color of the paste is a dark ivory interspersed with solid black lines.
Pairings with Pecorino Moliterno al Tartufo can be challenging, Big hearty red wines are probably the order of the day, but avoid anything too tannic since these will oversahdow the nuance of the cheese.