Few cheeses in the world have such ancient origins as Pecorino Romano.
For more than two thousand years the flocks of sheep that graze freely in the countryside of Lazio and Sardinia have produced the milk from which the cheese is made. Even the ancient Romans appreciated Pecorino Romano. In the imperial palaces it was a prized dressing at banquets, while its long-term storage capacity made it a staple food for rations when the Roman legions marched. It was so much in use among the Romans that a daily ration was established to be given to the Legionaries, as a supplement to the bread and farro soup: 27 grams! This cheese gave back strength and vigour to tired soldiers and nowadays we know why. Pecorino Romano gives energy and is easy to digest.
The processing of sheep’s milk described by Homer was codified in the following centuries. Columella gives a detailed description in his “De re rustica”:
“[…] the milk is generally curdled using lamb’s or kid’s rennet (…) The milking bucket, when it has been filled with milk, should be kept at a medium heat. Do not let it come near sources of fire […] rather keep it well away from fire, and as soon as the liquid is curdled, it should be transferred into baskets or moulds. In fact it is essential that the whey can drain immediately and be separated from the solid matter […]. Then when the solid part is removed from the baskets or moulds, it should be placed in a cool, dark place so that it does not go off, on tables as clean as possible, and sprinkled with ground salt so that it can sweat.