Designations and certifications

Pecorino Sardo was awarded the Denomination of Origin status in 1991 with the Prime Ministerial Decree dated 04/11/91 and in 1996, with Regulation (EC) No. 1263/96 dated 01/07/96, it was granted PDO - Protected Designation of Origin - status by the EU.

Since 2 July 1996, the quality of Pecorino Sardo PDO has been guaranteed by the Protection Consortium, which is currently composed of private companies and cooperative societies operating throughout the region. On 11 December 2002, by Ministerial Decree, the Consortium received its first official recognition as the sole representative Body of Pecorino Sardo PDO, and was officially vested with the role of protecting, promoting and developing the PDO status, as well as with guarding against any abuse, fraud or counterfeiting of the product.
This ministerial mandate has been renewed every three years.

Raw materials and production technologies

Pecorino Sardo PDO is produced solely from whole sheep's milk from Sardinia.
The sheep feed primarily on the vegetation provided by the island’s natural pastures, meadows and grasslands, hence why the milk used to produce the PDO cheese is of such high quality, and from which the finished product gets its unique flavour and taste.

Pecorino Sardo is an excellent table cheese with two types which differ in terms of the processing techniques, ageing, size and organoleptic characteristics:
the Mild and the Mature.

The product specification dictates the use of whole sheep's milk which can be thermised or pasteurized and inoculated with local lactic acid bacteria cultures and subsequently curdled with calf rennet at a temperature of between 35° and 39°C.

The cheese is then broken down to form curd granules: hazelnut-sized for the Mild version and the size of corn kernels for the Mature version.
The curd then undergoes a process of semi-cooking at a temperature of no more than 43°C and is subsequently placed in special circular moulds, the dimensions of which differ for the two types. The cheese is then pressed and excess whey is discharged.

After the whey is drained, it undergoes the salting process, which can be done either in a wet or dry manner, with different durations for each method. This is followed by the ripening phase, during which the product matures in special rooms with controlled temperature and humidity.

Each phase of the production process, from the production of the milk to the ripening phase, must take place in the Area of Origin.

The checks

Each stage of the production process is monitored very carefully, with all the inputs and outputs for each step meticulously documented.
This, along with specific registers managed by the control authority, recording farmers, producers, affineurs, packagers and cutters, together with the timely notification of the quantities produced to the control authority, ensures product traceability.

All operators, whether legal or natural persons, listed in the above-mentioned registers are subject to checks by the control authority; an independent third party authorized by the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.

Modifications to the product specification introduced in 2014

In March 2014, an EU Regulation was passed to definitively approve a number of important changes to the PDO cheese’s product specification that had been requested by the Protection Consortium.
Protection of the Denomination was also extended to grated Mature Pecorino Sardo PDO and to the two types of Pecorino Sardo PDO, Mild and Mature, sold as shavings, cubes, petals, slices, and snacks. This represented an important step forward for the Consortium as it enabled them to meet the needs of consumers looking for high quality products that are also ready for immediate consumption, as well as easily available - in the various formats - on the self-service shelves that are now so prevalent in modern Food Distribution.

Mild and Mature

Check out all the nutritional information relating to the two different types of Pecorino Sardo PDO.
Find out more