Owned by the Madaio family, Casa Madaio is an acclaimed cheese affineur (maturer) and producer located in Salerno, Italy. The family home, a castle with three towers, is reflected in Casa Madaio’s distinct logo. Mr. Madaio feels that the towers not only represent the home, but also the connection of the past with the future. To him, the towers symbolize his three children Angelo, Renata and David and the future of Casa Madaio.
At Casa Madaio, both cheese production and the cheese aging facility are small scale.
The business is centered at two different locations. The cheese making facilities are in Eboli, along with the central office, while the aging caves are located at Castelcivita, in the heart of the The National Park of Cilento and Vallo of Diano.
The area is steeped in history. The caves have been used to age cheeses by the Madaio family for four generations, and the company places great value on the preservation of the history and flavors of the land, working closely with local universities and with the Slow Food movement to further research. Their cheeses are primarily sold to small specialty shops and restaurants, both in Italy and abroad.
Casa Madaio makes both fresh goat and buffalo milk cheeses at their location in Eboli. In addition, they also purchase cheeses made at small mountain dairies nearby that they age themselves at Castelcivita.
Caciocavallo is an ancient cheese that is produced throughout southern Italy and the Balkans and is typically made with cow or sheep’s milk. We know of its existence in the ancient world through the works of Hippocrates, who mentioned the cheese in the 5th Century, BCE. The name, Caciocavallo literally means, “cheese on horseback,” referring to the way two cheeses are tied at the ends of a long rope and then hung over a rod to age. This makes the cheese look like a saddlebag thrown over the back of a horse.
Cacicavallo Silano is only made in the Calabria region of Italy and is made strictly with cow’s milk. Since 1993, Cacicavallo Silano has held DOP status in Italy and recently obtained the European Union’s DOP status. To produce one 2.2 lb balloon-shaped cheese, 22 lbs of cow’s milk is used. It is a pasta filata cheese, which means that the curd is kneaded and stretched when it is still warm. This produces a dense, elastic texture that allows the cheese to be made into spherical shapes. Caciocavallo Silano is aged for 2 to 6 months before being released. The flavor of this cheese changes as it matures. As the Italians say, it is like a man, when young it is sweet, when mature it is spicy.
When pairing wine with Caciocavallo Silano, it depends on whether the cheese is young or more mature. For the younger version, light white wines such as Chardonnay or Falanghina (a southern Italian white wine) or full-bodied red wines such as Aglianico del Vulture are recommended. When more mature, pair it with a bold red such as Chianti or Nebbiolo.
Caciocavallo Silano can be used in a wide range of recipes, from grilling the cheese to top salads or potatoes, to using it in Risotto. It can be rustic or refined, depending on taste.