Characteristics - Saras del Fèn is a ripened ricotta cheese produced from a mixture of goats’, ewes’ and cows’ milk. The cheese is egg-shaped with a weight of 500-1500 g. Ripening lasts at least 20 days but can be longer than 1 year. It is wrapped during ripening, following local tradition, in hay characteristic of local alpine high pastures. There is no  crust in the fresh product but ripened products have an elastic crust that is wrinkled, soft, grey with yellow and white highlights. The dough is ivory or yellowish without holes. The texture is soft, elastic and sticky. The odour is fine and delicate in fresh products but strong and persistent in aged products. The taste is mainly sweet and fine but savoury, salty and hot in aged products

Saras del Fèn is a ripened ricotta cheese

Production area - The cheese is produced in the high pastures of the Pinerolo Valley near to Turin by about twenty artisan cheesemakers.

Cheesemaking - Saras del Fèn is produced with cows’ milk whey (90-100%) and ewes’ or goats’ milk whey (0-10%). The mix obtained is heated to 80-85 °C and added, at about 60°C, to milk or cream. The whey is coagulated with citric acid or magnesium sulphate or a local product named ‘Bouna’. Bouna is an infusion in sour whey of spices, alpine herbs and roots. This product is also known as ‘agra’ and is used in cheese-making. The whey is then heated to 90-95 °C to obtain good curd separation and the curd is collected, salted and drained in moulds. Some manufacturers may also press the curds. After 10-15 days, ripening the ricotta cheese is wrapped (“haymaking”) in Festuca flavescens a characteristic hay of local alpine high pastures.

Composition - The composition of Saras del Fèn cheese is given in table 9.


Table 9.  The composition of Saras del Fèn cheese







Fat (% dry matter)




How to cite this article

Zeppa, Giuseppe (2004). [On-line]. Available from: . Accessed: 4 March, 2024.