You are undoubtedly familiar with ricotta, but barilotto (think of the Italian accent yourself) probably raises more questions. Not surprising: where one ‘cheese’ is simply in plastic containers in the supermarket, for the other you (still) have to go to the cheesemonger or delicatessen. Yet we think – and we hope – that that will change, because it is nice that it is!
Move over ricotta , it’s time for barilotto.
What is barilotto?
Barilotto is a relatively new ‘cheese’ mainly made from buffalo milk in Campania (a region of southern Italy). The cheese, like ricotta , leaves a grainy idea on your tongue. It has a firm taste and structure, but melts wonderfully in your mouth.
Fun fact : barilotto means ‘barrel/barrel’ in Italian. The cheese is thus named after the mold in which it is poured.
How is it made?
Why do we always write ‘cheese’ in quotes? It has to do with the way it is made. Like traditional ricotta, barilotto is not a real cheese, but a by-product of it. It is made from the (drained) whey that is left over when buffalo mozzarella is made. Traditional ricotta is more often made from the whey of cow, sheep or goat cheese .
This whey is heated a second time, creating new curds (clumped proteins). That stuff is poured into the mould, after which it is waited eight days so that the last moisture leaks out. The barilotto is then removed from the mould, sprinkled with salt and matured on the shelf, where the cheeses are turned regularly. In total, barilotto matures for at least 40 days, but often longer. In fact, it is a type of matured buffalo ricotta.
What can you do with barilotto?
Barilotto is especially nice to finish dishes with a fresh, creamy taste. As chef Sergio Herman himself writes: “One of my favorite cheeses to give a dish a final boost.”
This works especially well in salads and pastas, but of course you can’t experiment enough! For example, try a dish with barilotto and something sweet like jam, which makes the taste even better.