Venaco is a washed rind cheese produced from raw, whole sheep’s milk, though some shepherds use goat’s milk. It is produced in the mountainous regions of Haute Corsica using natural rennet. The name of the cheese is derived from a village called Venaco that lies in the centre of the island.
The cheese is matured for 1-2 weeks before it is dipped in brine and left to mature in a moist cheese cellar. The rind of the cheese is red-orange in colour while the insides reveal an ivory soft pate. A 24-48 hours fresh variant can sometimes be used for cooking but essentially 2-3 months matured Venaco makes a perfect addition to a cheese platter. At 6 months, an intensely mature Venaco can be used as a grating cheese on pasta and soups.
The aroma of Venaco is complex, complemented by a powerful, melt-in-the-mouth taste. A great place to try Corsican cheeses is at the Venaco cheese fair, A Fiera di U Casgiu, in early May. Venaco is a fremier cheese that has to be produced from the milk of a single herd.