Ragusano DOP is an Italian PDO protected cheese made exclusively in provinces of Ragusa and Siracusa, Sicily. It is one of the oldest cheeses in Sicily with evidence dating as early as 1500. Originally known by the name of Caciocavallo, it lost its historical name after it acquired the recognition of PDO. A hard cheese from the pasta filata family, Ragusano is made with whole milk from Modicana breed of cows fed on fresh grass or hay. In case where milk from other cow breeds is used, due to scarcity of Modicana breed, the cheese is called “Cosacavaddu rausanu”.
The cheese is sold at different stages of aging in rectangular blocks. When it is fresh within two months of production, the cheese tastes sweet, pleasant and delicate. Cheeses ripened beyond six months tend to become more flavourful and spicier with age. The rind is smooth, thin and exhibits a yellowish-golden colour that deepens as the cheese ages. Ragusano, smoked using natural processes is also available and here the designation stamp will have the word “affumicato” attached to the name of the cheese. A compact cheese with straw coloured pate, Ragusano goes well with full bodied red wines and aged, dark beers.