Classic Caprino, as its name implies, is made using solely the whole or partly-skimmed milk of goats (or, "capre" in Italian). Nowadays, however, most industrially produced versions of the cheese are made from either cow's milk or a blend of both milks. Caprino can be eaten fresh or aged. Perfectly fresh Caprino should be delicate in flavor with only a trace of tanginess; while aged Caprino, ripened anywhere from 20-40 days, will prove saltier and offer a slightly sharper acidic bite. The two most well-known varieties of Caprino come from Roccaverano, where the cheese is wrapped in walnut leaves, and Sardinia, where piquancy in product is encouraged.
Caprino Fresco (Fresh Caprino)
Fresh Caprino is manufactured in round or cylindrical shapes. It has no crust or outer layer, and is generally sold in a paper packaging. A soft, creamy cheese, Caprino Fresco is typically served warm over a bed of wild greens, or preserved in oil and shipped abroad in small jars or bottles. While both the cow's milk and dual blend varieties are delicious, an authentic goat's milk Caprino will be worth sampling every time.
Caprino Stagionato (Seasoned Caprino)
Aged Caprino comes in small squarish or marshmallow shaped rounds. It has an outer layer, which is pale yellow in appearance and rather thin. At times, the cheese is covered in herbs prior to aging. Depending on how long it is left to ripen, the cheese itself will range from soft to creamy to compact.
Several smoked forms of Caprino are also produced.
In the Kitchen
Caprino is spectacular as an appetizer, a table cheese, or roasted or grilled. Frequently served fresh in salads, the cheese can also be used to add savory undertones to sauces.
Fresh Caprino should be eaten within a week or two of being made.
Due to its perishability, fresh Caprino is not widely available outside of Italy. However, bocconcini (or bite-sized pieces) of the young cheese can be found in their bottled form, where they are preserved in olive oil that is often infused with herbs and spices. (For an extra "zing," drizzle a little of the flavored oil over the bottled Caprini before serving.)