Consorzio Pecorino Canestrato Moliterno

Business Name: Consorzio tutela Canestrato di Moliterno
Category: Alimentary
Sub-Category: Cheese

Address: Via Roma
City: Potenza
Postal Code: 85047
Province: Potenza
Country: Basilicata-Italy

Tel: 0975 668511
Fax: 39 0975 668537

Website: N/A
Contact: Send Email

Business Profile:

Raw materials/Variety/Race.

Canestrato di Moliterno PGI is a cheese with hard dough obtained from 70-90% of whole sheep's milk and 30-10% of whole goat's milk.

Method of working/Cultivation/Breeding

Canestrato di Moliterno PGI is produced all year round by using milk from flocks nurtured mostly from pastures, with fresh forages and hays. The milk coming from one or more milking operations has to be processed within 48 hours from the first milking and can be used raw or thermised. The coagulation is obtained by adding lamb or kid rennet and bringing the dough at a temperature of 36-40°C for about 35 minutes.

The curd is broken up to obtain grains the size of a rice grain and then removed from whey and put in baskets which give the rind the typical stripes. Later the pieces of dough are salted, dry or in brine, and then dried for 30-40 days before to be stored in the seasoning rooms. The ripening phase has to take place only in the so-called fondaci, cold, dry and well-ventilated rooms which are located only in the municipal area of Moliterno at a height over 700 metres above sea level.

The fondaco is characterised by walls, which are 40 cm thick or more, with almost two sides that are below ground level and two openings for air recycling. Depending on the duration of ripening, Canestrato di Moliterno PGI is subdivided into Primitivo, ripened up to six months; Stagionato and Extra, when seasoning lasts respectively a year and over a year.

Aspect and Taste

Canestrato di Moliterno PGI after at least 60 days of seasoning has a cylindrical shape with a diameter of about 20 cm and a height of 10-15 cm, with a weight going from 2 to 5.5 kg. The dough is compact with irregular holes, when cut it is white or straw yellow in colour depending on the ripening level. The flavor can be either sweet or spicy, when the cheese is riper.

Production Zone

The production area of Canestrato di Moliterno PGI covers about 60 municipal areas in the Matera and Potenza districts, in region Basilicata.


The sheep farming and the use to transform milk into cheese boast ancient origins in the Moliterno area and this is confirmed by archeological finds dated back to the 4th century B.C. And also the name of cities could come from the Latin world mulgere, meaning "to milk". Plus, since the 18th century, there is written evidence that over centuries the art to curar pecorini (grow sheep) has taken advantage from the area's climate acquiring the excellent qualities that still today differentiate them.


Canestrato di Moliterno PGI has to be stored in a fresh and dry place and, if sliced, has to be stored in refrigerator and eaten in a short time. The Primitivo type is very good when tasted alone, as a table cheese, but also used as a flavourful ingredient for simple and modern dishes such as an apple salad from Alta Val d'Agri. The Stagionato type is very good when grated on recipes from the Lucanian tradition, such as cavuzuni or maccaruni o' firricieddu. Finally, Canestrato di Moliterno PGI Extra is ideal when combined with the Lucanian honey or a glass of Aglianico del Vulture CDO wine.


The product is sold as Canestrato di Moliterno PGI, in the Primitivo type (up to six months of seasoning), Stagionato (up to a year of seasoning) and Extra (over a year of seasoning). It can be sold whole or in appropriately packed slices.

Distinctive features

Canestrato di Moliterno PGI is made with milk produced by the Gentile di Lucania sheep breeding, which is the most spread in Lucania and comes from cross-breeding between local sheep and Spanish merino sheep. This cross-breed started in the 15th century and was aimed at obtaining animals to use for both milk and meat. This double use is shown by a milk production with lower amounts but higher quality compared with other breeds.

(Texts adapted from  Qualigeo)




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