Ah, Italy! A land of romance, art, and of course, divine cheeses. If you’ve been following our journey here at Italian Cooking and Living, you know how passionate we are about bringing the authentic tastes of Italy to your table.
Today, let’s embark on a flavorful adventure with the ever-so-delightful caprino cheese.
What is Caprino?
Caprino, derived from the Italian word “capra” meaning goat, is a testament to Italy’s age-old cheese-making tradition.
Made primarily from goat’s milk, caprino goat cheese is a staple in many Italian households. I still remember my nonna’s stories of her childhood in the Italian countryside, where she’d watch the local cheese artisans craft this creamy wonder. Every time I savor a slice, it’s like taking a trip down memory lane.
Interestingly, while classic Caprino is made solely from goats’ milk, modern industrial production often uses cow’s milk or a blend of both. This versatility in production has led to various Caprino cheeses, each with its unique taste and texture.
Is It Pasteurized?
Most commercially available varieties of Caprino are pasteurized, ensuring flavor and safety. This process also extends the cheese’s shelf life, making it a favorite for export.
So, what does caprino cheese taste like? It’s tangy, creamy, and slightly earthy.
Perfectly fresh Caprino is delicate with only a hint of tanginess. However, as it ages, ripening anywhere from 20-40 days, it becomes saltier with a sharper acidic bite.
The two most renowned varieties hail from Roccaverano, wrapped in walnut leaves, and Sardinia, known for its piquant flavor.
Comparisons to other Cheeses
Caprino vs Goat Cheese
While Caprino is a type of goat cheese, not all goat cheeses can be called Caprino. The term “goat cheese” is a broad category encompassing various cheeses made from goat’s milk, each with its distinct flavor, texture, and aging process.
Caprino, with its Italian origins, has specific characteristics that set it apart from other goat cheeses. Its creamy texture and unique tangy flavor, especially when aged, make it a standout in the world of cheeses.
Caprino Fresco vs. Caprino Stagionato
- Caprino Fresco (Fresh Caprino): This version is soft and creamy, often sold in paper packaging without any crust.
It’s typically served warm over wild greens or preserved in oil and shipped abroad in jars. While both cow’s milk and dual blend varieties are delightful, nothing beats the authentic taste of goat’s milk Caprino.
- Caprino Stagionato (Seasoned Caprino): Aged Caprino is a treat for the senses. It comes in small rounds, either squarish or marshmallow-shaped, with a pale yellow, thin outer layer.
Sometimes, it’s covered in herbs before aging, adding an extra layer of flavor. Its texture can range from soft to creamy to compact, depending on its ripening duration. And for those who love a smoky flavor, smoked versions are available.
If you’re looking to recreate an Italian dish that calls for Caprino but can’t find it in your local store, don’t fret! Several substitutes can mimic its creamy texture and tangy flavor.
- Feta cheese, though slightly saltier, can be a good alternative.
- Ricotta or cream cheese can also work, especially in recipes where the cheese is melted.
However, opt for a soft goat cheese available in your region for the best flavor match.
Caprino pairs beautifully with a variety of wines, especially crisp white wines or light reds.
Consider fresh fruits like figs, honey, or even a sprinkle of black pepper for accompaniments. Its versatility also makes it a delightful addition to charcuterie boards.
How Do You Eat It?
Caprino shines in various culinary applications. As an appetizer or table cheese, its rich flavor sets the tone for the meal.
Roasted or grilled, it takes on a whole new character. It’s frequently used fresh in salads but can also elevate sauces with its savory undertones.
Storing and Buying Tips
Fresh Caprino is perishable and best consumed within a week or two.
If you’re outside Italy and craving this cheese, look for bocconcini preserved in olive oil, often infused with herbs and spices.
Drizzle some of the flavored oil over the cheese for an extra zing.
In conclusion, caprino cheese is more than just a dairy product; it’s a journey through Italy’s vibrant culture and history.
Whether you’re a seasoned cheese connoisseur or just starting your Italian culinary adventure, caprino is a must-try.
And as we always say here at Italian Cooking and Living, the best way to understand Italy is to taste it. So, grab a slice, close your eyes, and let caprino transport you to the heart of Italy.
Buon appetito, amici! 🧀🍷🇮🇹