Similar to romano but studded with whole black peppercorns, this cheese originated in Sicily and reflects the Sicilian love of hearty, robust flavors. Pepato means "pepper" and Sicilians started the tradition of adding black peppercorns to romano. Wisconsin pepato is available with a romano or romano/asiago base. It contains less salt than its imported counterpart, so more of the rich, complex flavor of the cheese comes through. Because the cheese moistens and mellows the peppercorns, the flavor is not as intense as some expect.


Creamy white, dotted with black peppercorns


Hard, granular


Peppery, piquant

Serving Suggestions

Use pepato to add pizzazz to dishes that call for romano or other grated cheeses. Grate over toasted rounds of bread brushed with olive oil; sprinkle over corn on the cob, fresh asparagus or baked potatoes. Like parmesan, serve pepato in chunks as a table cheese. This peppery cheese pairs well with a cold glass of hard cider. Serve as an appetizer or a snack with antipasto. Thin slices add new dimension to roast beef sandwiches.

Goes Well With

Apples, pears, grain-based dishes, mixed greens, cured meats Hard cider, Italian beers, sparkling waters


Pepato comes bulk in 22- to 24-pound wheels, 12- and 6-pound wheels, precut in 8- to 10-ounce random-weight pieces, and pre-grated in 5-pound bags.

Performance Note

Pepato wheels make ideal demo "bowls" when hollowed out and filled with shredded or grated pepato or pepato dressing or dip.

  Cold Surface Broil Oven (in recipe) Oven (surface) Direct Heat (in suspension)

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