12 Facts About Pecorino Cheese

Facts About Pecorino

Pecorino cheese is a beloved Italian cheese with a rich history and incredible depth of flavor. As one of Italy’s most popular cheeses, Pecorino has been produced for thousands of years in a variety of styles. From its origins as a sheep’s milk cheese to its many variations today, Pecorino has captivated cheese aficionados around the world.

Let’s explore 12 intriguing facts about this iconic cheese:


Pecorino is a hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. Its name comes from the Italian word for sheep, “pecora.” Pecorino boasts a rich, sharp flavor and hard, granular texture that holds up beautifully when grated or shaved. From salty and intense Pecorino Romano to sweet, nutty Pecorino Toscano, Italy produces many glorious types of Pecorino cheese.

With roots extending back to ancient Roman times, Pecorino remains an integral part of Italian cuisine. It brings a tangy, savory depth to pasta dishes, salads, charcuterie boards and more. Whether enjoyed on its own or incorporated into recipes, Pecorino always packs a flavorful punch.

Facts About Pecorino

  1. Pecorino dates back over 2,000 years. Pecorino’s origins can be traced to ancient Roman times, when it was made by shepherds in the countryside.
  2. Traditional Pecorino is made from sheep’s milk. Authentic Pecorino gets its distinctive flavor from being made solely with whole sheep’s milk. Some modern Pecorino cheeses also contain cow’s or goat’s milk.
  3. There are many varieties of Pecorino. Popular types include young and mild Pecorino Toscano, firm and salty Pecorino Romano, sweet and nutty Pecorino Sardo, and smoked Pecorino with a rich, meaty flavor.
  4. Pecorino is a protected cheese in Europe. In Italy and across the EU, the name “Pecorino” refers specifically to sheep’s milk cheese to protect and preserve its heritage.
  5. Pecorino Romano has a hard texture perfect for grating. Aged for over a year, Pecorino Romano’s texture is ideal for grating over pasta dishes like cacio e pepe and carbonara.
  6. Pecorino Toscano is milder and better for eating. With a softer texture and mildest flavor, young Pecorino Toscano is meant to be enjoyed by itself or on sandwiches.
  7. Many Italian regions produce their own Pecorino. Prominent regions like Tuscany, Lazio, Sardinia and Sicily make localized versions of Pecorino with terroir-driven traits.
  8. Pecorino pairs wonderfully with wine. Its salty, savory notes beautifully complement Italian red and white wines.
  9. Pecorino contains less lactose than other cheeses. During the cheesemaking process, most of the lactose drains off with the whey, making Pecorino easier to digest.
  10. Pecorino is rich in healthy fats and protein. Made from whole sheep’s milk, it provides conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), omega-3 fatty acids and 6.7 grams of protein per ounce.
  11. Pecorino is featured in many iconic Italian dishes. It stars in recipes like pasta alla gricia, lasagne, saltimbocca, supplì and more.
  12. Pecorino has a special place in Roman cuisine. In Rome and central Italy, a meal isn’t complete without a final course of Pecorino Romano and pears to finish the dining experience.


With its deep roots in Italian culture and cuisine, vibrant diversity of flavors and textures, and stellar nutrition profile, it’s easy to see why Pecorino remains such a cherished cheese today. This sheep’s milk delicacy is truly one of Italy’s gifts to the culinary world. Whether you’re already a fan or have yet to discover Pecorino’s charms, learning more about this iconic cheese will give you an appetite for seeking out its many glorious incarnations.

Pecorino Cheese
Pecorino Cheese

FAQ Section

1. What is pecorino cheese?

Pecorino cheese is a type of hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is known for its distinct flavor and texture.

2. Where does pecorino cheese originate from?

Pecorino cheese originates from Italy, where it has been produced for centuries. It is particularly associated with regions such as Sardinia, Lazio, Sicily, Basilicata, and Calabria.

3. What are the main varieties of pecorino cheese?

There are six main varieties of pecorino cheese with protected designation of origin (PDO) status under European Union law. These include pecorino romano, pecorino sardo, pecorino toscano, pecorino siciliano, pecorino di Filiano, and pecorino crotonese.

4. How does the aging process affect the flavor and texture of pecorino cheese?

The aging process greatly influences the characteristics of pecorino cheese. More matured cheeses, known as stagionato, are harder and crumbly with buttery and nutty flavors. Semi-stagionato and fresco varieties have a softer texture and milder cream and milk tastes.

5. How is pecorino cheese used in Italian cuisine?

Pecorino cheese is widely used in Italian cuisine. It is often grated over pasta dishes like cacio e pepe and pasta alla gricia. It can also be enjoyed on its own, paired with fruits, nuts, or drizzled with honey. Pecorino is a popular choice for finishing various Italian recipes throughout different regions of Italy.

Similar Posts