How to Make Moretum (Garlic Cheese)

Опубликовал Admin
23-09-2020, 09:20
Moretum is a spicy garlic cheese spread made with herbs, dating back to the days of Roman antiquity. It is described in the "Appendix Vergiliana". This modified recipe is for the true garlic lover.


  1. Have a mortar and pestle ready. You will want to use a marble one, because the smell will never come off of a wooden one, and a plain, smooth ceramic one can be troublesome. The rougher surface of stone will also make it easier to use.
  2. Peel 2-5 garlic cloves, your choice, and mince them. Put these in the mortar and pound them until somewhat pasty. Add a pinch of salt and mix.
  3. Grate 2.5 to 5 oz of Romano cheese, or mince by hand.
  4. Mix the cheese into the garlic until well blended.
  5. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of white wine vinegar; mix.
  6. Pick out a few sprigs of fresh cilantro [coriander leaves] and chop finely with a sharp knife.
  7. Add the leaves and 1/2 tsp of dill; mix again.
  8. Add any additional herbs and spices.
  9. Mix and pound again until spices are well-distributed and you have a slightly lumpy paste.
  10. Spread the chunky paste as thinly as you can manage [it's not that spreadable] onto fresh slices of French baguettes.


  • 2-5 garlic cloves
  • 2.5-5 oz Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 a bunch fresh cilantro (two to three sprigs)
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: fresh and dried herbs/spices
  • 1 loaf bread (recommended: French baguette)


  • Romans would have been flexible regarding the ingredients. Use what is fresh and available.
  • The Roman author Columella describes a moretum made with pine nuts.
  • When in doubt, use 2 cloves for 4oz cheese. This should be mild enough for most people.
  • If your hands smell strongly of garlic, wash them with toothpaste.
  • If you like it hot (sample first), you may want three cloves per 2oz cheese.
  • Remember not to add too much in seasonings. Your seasonings should never exceed more than a tablespoon of dry ingredients or enough fresh ingredients to make the color anything more than a greenish off-white. If you add too much, add more cheese and the other ingredients to match.
  • If you would like to conveniently store your garlic cheese and keep your mortar and pestle from forever smelling of garlic, line the mortar with a plastic bag. This also aids with mixing, and allows you to use the back of the pestle [flat end] to crush the minced garlic into a very fine pulp.
  • If you want to make this more spreadable, you may use butter or olive oil.
  • You may want to add any of the following in small amounts: pepper, lemon pepper, chives, basil, oregano, rosemary, minced onion [no more than 1/2 tsp], lemon peel, jalapeno pepper.
  • This makes a wonderful side dish to any pasta entrée.
  • If you don't want it too spicy, try using garlic cloves which have been roasted first.It will add a whole new flavor and may make it easier to spread.


  • This is a strong garlic recipe. If you've made the recipe too strong for your tastes, add some more grated cheese to the mixture.
  • Counter to your intuition, do not brush your teeth within half an hour of enjoying this dish. This creates excruciating pain.
  • Sugary foods (like fruit juice) especially will burn the mouth after consuming garlic cheese. . Stick to water or posca and bread for maximum post-garlic comfort.

Things You'll Need

  • Mortar and pestle, preferably a marble one
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