The name for these wonderful looking 'Canestrati' derives from the fact that they are made by being pressed into a 'Canestri' (Italian word for wicker basket) and the pattern, will show on the cheese itself.
The Sicilian Canestrato is a true delicacy, it is considered among the most valuable cheeses in the Italian casearia, or dairy,
tradition. Canestrato cheese is traditionally produced by small farms
that breed specific types of sheep and cows in order to confer to the
cheese a particular and refined flavor.
A thick outer rind leads to the superficial striations left from the
traditional wicker basket where the curd is set. The flavor is sweet and
delicate and tends toward slight tanginess when fresh, its customary
form when consumed as a table cheese.
The 'Pepato' variation with added peppers is quite spicy.