After a very long and patient wait, I have finally cracked open the Romano Pepato that I made way back in December 2013.
This cheese has been turned once a week in the cheese fridge to ensure even moisture and fat distribution, maturing at 13°C (55°F) for 17 months. Here is a link to the post where I first talked about Romano Pepato.
If you are looking to the method, you can find the video tutorial for Romano at this link.
I originally intended to age this cheese for only 10 months and I was planning to open it in Oct 2014, but as usual, time got away from me. That and the simple fact that we already had some Romano in the fridge for grating, so I just let it continue to mature.
I purposely vacuum sealed this cheese as I wanted to ensure that during the long time that it took to age, it didn’t dry out, which sometimes happens when you wax a cheese. I have been caught out before with a Parmesan that I’d waxed that dried out because I hadn’t sealed it correctly.
So what does it taste like I hear you ask? It is amazing! Deep, rich, and strong Romano taste, with just a hint of pepper throughout the cheese and a long, pleasant aftertaste.
It slices perfectly and is not dry or crumbly. Even when you get a piece with a peppercorn in it, the spice is not overpowering. I think the long maturation period mellowed the pepper, but increased the overall flavour.
I know that I always say this, but this cheese is one of the best of the Italian styles of cheese that I have ever made. The extra aging was worth the wait. Romano Pepato made with organic milk is perfect if you like strong, Italian style cheese.
I can still taste it in my mouth after 30 minutes. It would go great with a nice glass of Shiraz or Merlot, or even a dark ale!