Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Can you keep a secret?

Can you keep a secret?
A secret is at the heart of this popular Italian expression, even if it is a peculiar one. “Al contadino non far sapere quant'è buono il cacio con le pere” quite literally means “don’t tell the farmer how good cheese is with pears”.

It may sound strange, but the combination of pecorino sheep cheese and fresh pears (especially Bartlett pears) is sublime, whether as a simple after-dinner treat with crackers, served sliced on a plate with a drizzle of lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and shaved cheese, or a rich creamy filling for ravioli.

The idea of not telling the farmer came from the fear that if he knew how good the two were together, he’s start charging more for his produce. Today the expression is used to talk about any secret that should be kept. But just in case there is any truth to the rumor, if you do know a farmer, please don’t tell him how good cheese is with pears. Thanks for your assistance in this very important matter.