Produced by cheesemaker Gregorio Rotolo in the Abruzzo region of Italy, just East of Rome, Ricotta Scorza Nera is an aged ricotta made from the whey of raw sheep’s milk.
Whole milk is sourced from Sopravvissana sheep, a rare breed native to Abruzzo, renowned for giving limited quantities of very high yielding milk. The sheep graze the hills surrounding the village where the cheese is made.
Rotolo first uses the milk to make Pecorino, preserving the whey from production for Scorza Nera.
They whey is heated to a high temperature which causes any residual proteins (curd) to float to the surface. They are then scooped up and gently transferred to molds where they are allowed to drain naturally for several hours.
The cheeses are salted and matured for at least 100 days, during which time a thin film of natural black mold forms on the outside of the cheese; hence the name - which literally translates as “black outer layer”. The molds help the cheese retain its moisture and extremely fine, semi-soft texture.
Flavors are very rich, cream-like and spicy. The cheese’s pronounced tang is balanced by the sweetness of the sheep’s milk.