What Is Sardo?

A. Leverkuhn

Sardo is an Argentinian sharp grated cheese. This cheese is similar in some ways to other cow’s milk cheeses that can be aged for a different texture and use. It is commonly made in the round wheels familiar to buyers of parmesan and other aged cheeses. Today, this cheese ships to gourmet shops and other venues all over the world, and may be familiar to cooks from all culinary communities.

Sardo is made from cow's milk.
Sardo is made from cow's milk.

The sardo cheese is described as having a mild flavor and a smooth texture when less aged. The more aged varieties of this cheese will be more prone to having a dry, crumbly texture. The sardo cheese, however, does not typically have the same texture as aged parmesan, even when it is aged. Many refer to this type of Argentinian cheese as “semi-hard to hard” depending on the aging of the cheese.

It’s important to note that sardo cheese is often made with rennet, which is an animal product. Rennet is a sort of enzyme associated with the stomach lining of some mammals, and is often used to make some sorts of cheeses. Sardo is among a class of cheeses known as “non-vegetarian” cheeses. It is among the more complex types of cheese, where additional steps go into the manufacturing of the cheese beyond simply separating milk into curds and whey. For instance, many softer cheeses do not use rennet; these are often made simply through straining curds and combining milk solids.

Some experts point out that buyers and others should not confuse sardo with a cheese called pecorino sardo that comes from Sardinia in Italy. The pecorino sardo cheese is similar, yet different, to the Argentinian variety. It is described as open-grained, with small holes, and a yellow color. Pecorino sardo is available as USDA organic cheese with a minimum percentage of butterfat. While the Argentinian cheese is a cow’s milk cheese, the pecorina sardo from Italy is a sheep’s milk cheese.

Sardo cheese is common in different pasta dishes made in Argentina and around the world. Cooks may also use it in a variety of soups. As a versatile cheese, sardo can be enjoyed on its own or blended into complex culinary presentations. Some who are fans of the cheese consider it a versatile item for daily use, but others who do not like its particular flavor, may not advocate its use in salads and other dishes, preferring milder cheeses.

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