Pallone di Gravina cheese

The Pallone di Gravina cheese is made with fresh cow's milk and has a round shape and a spicy flavour. The name comes from its ball-like shape, ideal for being tied and transported  by donkeys during transhumance. Nowadays, at Gravina, only a few cheese factories and farms can guarantee a constant production and the high-quality milk necessary for it.

In 2012, the local Slow Food 'chapter' and the Murgiamadre association created the so-called Slow Food Presidium for the Pallone di Gravina cheese. It is processed from January to March. The cheese is obtained by coagulating raw whole cow's milk with liquid veal rennet or, in some cases, kid rennet.
After being broken into grains the size of a hazelnut, the curd is left to deposit. Subsequently the mass is collected and deposited on a work surface where the phase of the acidification, the most delicate part of the process which lasts approximately 12 hours, begins, after which the dough is sliced and heated with boiling water to create the right consistency. Once the typical round shape is created (through a slow process of manipulation), the cheese is left in brine for 24-36 hours, depending on its weight, and then dried. After that the Pallone is left to mature in natural cellars, where it develops piercing fragrances. After three months, it becomes spicy and the cheese turns golden and the scent shows hints of caramel which get mixed with the herbal smell typical of the area. Its weight varies from one to ten kilos.

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