Not only wineries: next to the vineyards and the long rows of barrels where wine is stored, the Valdichiana Senese features some special places that have become an obligatory stop for all those who love traditional products and the particular taste of this land. We are talking about the dairy farms that produce the famous Pecorino cheese from Pienza, namely one of the excellences recognized by the Tuscany Region, whose production is typical, of course, of Pienza, Montepulciano, Montefollonico, and surroundings.
To make us tell the secrets of this cheese (which in dialect form is generically called “cacio“), we got help from the Farm “Pianporcino”, namely a company, which deals with all stages of production of short-chain Pecorino cheese from Pienza: breeding , processing, and direct sales. Together with a group of tourists from the United States, we immediately got curious about the whole process of production that leads to this renowned food, which you can taste in many different types (low or high seasoning, addition of herbs or aromas, sweetness or spiciness ).
We visited the workshop, where the people in charge explained to us the first steps of the processing, which features the use of pasteurized milk from semi-free range Sardinian sheep; waiting for the transformation of the milk with the rennet, we took the opportunity to taste some Pecorino “Riserva”, paired with a glass of prosecco.
Then, it was time to move to the refrigeration area, where the company’s products are stored, divided into various seasonings, in the characteristic oak barrels (which give a typical tannic and marc aftertaste): a heavenly vision for those who love cheese, in fact, American guests stood astonished and astounded!
The next step led us to understand the secrets of the processing of the Pecorino cheese primo sale (a dry-salted, not yet mature type of Pecorino cheese), at the end of which we could taste the freshly-processed cheese, with a little oil and a pinch of salt. Finally, we also took the opportunity to learn about the preparation of ricotta, continuing to taste other delights such as mousse of ricotta, honey and hazelnuts, which have literally fascinated our taste buds.
At the end of the visit we were pleasantly satisfied, because the dairy farm is not only a place where they produce such a famous food as the Pecorino cheese from Pienza, but also a place where you can get acquainted with local traditions, learning about food-and-wine culture, and trying firsthand the experience of living in close contact with those who, throughout the year, closely follow the lengthy work processes, from breeding sheep up to cheese ripening.