We the Italians March 21, 2016 - 77 - Page 45

st # 77 MARCH 21 , 2016 mersed in special cement tanks for the brining. The salting process is protracted for a variable amount of time depending on the size of the wheels. The curing, which can last from a minimum of 3 months up to over 12 months, tasks place in ventilated rooms with an ambient temperature of 14-16°C. The wheels are tied in pairs with fine cord and placed astride the special supports in order to ensure perfect aeration for the whole surface of the wheel. The curing rooms are called “maiazzè”, and they are fresh, humid and ventilated and sometimes underground spaces where the pairs of wheels are hung “a cavallo” (on horseback, i.e. straddling) a wooden beam tied with “liama” rope or “cannu” cord made with “zammarra” or cotton. constant traces of human presence from the Neolithic times to the beginning of the last century, and continues with the Baroque scenery littered with domes and bell towers, with gnomes and fantastical animals carved into the shelves supporting the balconies and the cornices of the palaces of Ragusa Iblea, Scicli and Modica. Cheeses destined for prolonged curing are covered with olive oil. The product can only be smoked using natural and traditional procedures, in which case the designation of origin must be followed by the word “smoked”. The Ragusa countryside is shaped by the chalky The local area rock of the characteristic dry stone walls and dotRagusano DOP is produ- ted with the typical rural ced in the chalky Hyblean architecture of the HyblePlateaus characterised by an manor farms. It shifts green pastures rich in wild between centuries-old cavegetation that occupy rob trees, olive groves and the southeast edge of Si- rugged natural pastures cily. where the cows graze freely, especially those of the The history of these pla- Modicana breed. ces starts with the caves of Ispica, which have preserved impenetrable and WE THE ITALIANS | 45 www.wetheitalians.com