Brocciu cheese: Introduction
The Brocciu cheese is a cheese made from whey, more specifically ewes whey, recuperated after the cheese-making process. The Brocciu cheese is made from the milk of the ewes of Corsica. It comes from the central mountain range stretching from the north to the south of Corsica. It is fabricated by farm dairies. The cheese is appreciated highly by the Corsicans who have assigned it as their "national cheese." "Those who haven't tasted it don't know the island" wrote Emile Bergerat at the end of the 19th century. The name "Brocciu", or "broccio" comes from the word "brousse" which relates to a fresh Provençal cheese . It resembles Italian Ricotta.
The Brocciu cheese is shaped in the form of a flattened ball moulded in a "canestren," a little basket . The Brocciu is sold at markets in little wicker baskets which are returned to the market seller afterwards. The weight of the cheese varies from 500g to 1kg. The Brocciu cheese is produced from winter to the beginning of summer. The Brocciu cheese should be consumed within 2 to 3 days after it is made. It can be eaten at any time of the day, hot or cold. It is excellent for breakfast seasoned with pepper. The Brocciu cheese can also be ripened: after 21 days it is called the Brocciu Passu. Whilst it is maturing and drying, the cheese develops a fine off-white creamy coloured layer.
The legend of the Brocciu cheese
Once upon a time in la casa di l'urcu. According to the legend, long ago, the Dolmen, those of la casa di l'urcu, were terrorised by a cruel ogre. Weary, the inhabitants decided to get rid of the terrible giant , who, not content with terrorising the people, also stole their ewes and goats.
Except that the ogre had a precious secret, he knew how to produce the Brocciu cheese. When the shepherds managed to capture him, he offered the delicious recipe in exchange for sparing his life. The shepherds pretended to accept the ogre's offer, but when the ogre had given over his secret, the shepherds killed him without further ado.