Naples is home to some of the most storied and beautiful places from antiquity to modern day. The volcano Vesuvius, which erupted in the year 79 C.E. and destroyed the city of Pompeii as well as neighboring villages, shadows the area. The land has always been well thought of for its ability to grow some of the best wines in Italy. The whites are some of Italys best and their reds are wonderful in their own right as well.
The D.O.C. for Vesuvio reds is made up from local varietals Piedirosso and Aglianico, both of which are fairly robust when planted in volcanic soils. They pair well with grilled meats such as lamb or slow cooked meat dishes like Braciole. In fact, many of the foods you find in American Italian restaurants originate from the Naples area and this red goes perfectly with those dishes.
Caciocavallo is made in many parts of southern Italy, from Molise all the way down to Sicily. It is a "pasta filata" cheese like those found in the Mozzarella family. This one in particular comes from the Silano breed of cows in the Molise area.
A century ago, the cheeses were tied together and hung over a rafter. The appearance of the hanging cheese resembled saddlebags on the back of a horse giving the cheese its name: Cacio (cheese) Cavallo (horse). Try it sliced thick and grilled with eggplant and tomatoes or with a slightly chilled glass of Vesuvio red.
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