This September we will be visiting an organic sheep farm where Pecorino Toscano is produced. We will be given a tour of the farm, the cheese production process, and then enjoy a farm to table lunch with all ingredients coming from the farm.
One of Tuscany’s most beloved food products, whether fresh or aged is Pecorino Toscano: a cheese with a delicate fragrance and a soft or semi-firm consistency, produced exclusively from full-fat ewe’s milk. The word Pecorino derives from the Italian word “pecora,” meaning sheep.
In Tuscany, sheep farming is widespread, so depending on the area and the method used, you can find different versions of Pecorino, but not all of them are officially branded Pecorino Toscano. Since 1996, this product has boasted the DOP or PDO label or Protected Designation of Origin. That means that to be put on the market with this designation, it must be produced, matured, packaged and distributed according to specific rules and methods that guarantee its high quality. Here are 5 things you must know about the most famous Tuscan cheese:
1. ‘Pecorino Toscano’ is produced exclusively with whole sheep’s milk coming from Tuscany and from some areas of Umbria and Latium (established in the production regulation document). According to the regulation, sheep’s food must consist primarily of green fodder or hay from the area.
2. There are two types of pecorino cheese: soft fresh pecorino, with a maturation period of minimum 20 days and aged pecorino, which ages at least 4 months.
3. The shape of the Pecorino is cylindrical with a diameter of 15 to 22 cm and its weight varies from 0.75 to 3.5 kg. The scent is delicate and has elements of butter. The more intense the smell is, the stronger the flavor.
4. Authentic Pecorino Toscano clearly displays the DOP consortium trademark brand.
5. According to its maturity Pecorino Toscano can be eaten on its own or grated. You can add it to your Ribollita soup or pasta dish. Sliced, both mature or fresh, it pairs well with honey, jam, fruit and fresh seasonal vegetables. Combine Pecorino Toscano soft cheese with white wines such as “Bianco di Pitigliano” or “Monteregio.” The aged cheese works perfectly with Tuscan reds such as “Morellino di Scansano”, “Chianti Classico”, “Montecucco” or “Brunello di Montalcino”.
Why not join us in September and experience Pecorino Toscano where its made? Paired with some of these wines where they're made.
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Tony Moglia's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. He's a dual citizen who has traveled extensively throughout Italy for 40 years. He's happily married to a vibrant dancer who together have two children and three grandchildren. Tony has dreamed of Villas of Italy since his first trip to Italy, and now he shares his dream with you.