Sheep's cheese from Pienza („pecorino“ from the Italian „pecora“ for sheep) has been the epitome of good cheese since the time of the Romans. In those days, the countryside of the Val d'Orcia was little cultivated and full of meadows brimming with aromatic herbs. Today the greenfields have mostly disappeared and the soil is farmed up by means of modern tractors.
A vast diversity of herbs and grasses leads to a much more aromatic milk which then produces delicious cheeses. The transformation of the meadows cannot be reverted by a flip of the hand, but the resulting insight helps us at Podere Il Casale to a better understanding of sheep and goat cheese production
When we bought our first sheep in 1992, it was for us a question of self-supply. Our first attempts at cheesemaking were more than satisfactory and so we were incited to carry on.
The construction of a professional dairy for the public sale of cheese, fully corresponding to the present-day legal norms, had to wait until 2003. But meanwhile we were able to increase and perfect our cheesemaking ablity. We found winter and spring results to be most convincing, where as the summer heat proved more problematic, both for production and for storage.
Today, thanks to balanced feeding, we are in a position to produce delicious rich milk from all of our 150 sheep and 30 goats.
Apart from single exceptions imposed by vetinerary exigencies, our beasts are treated with homeopathic means exclusively. This results in the complete absence of chemical residues found in our milk.
By using gentle methods in our farm dairy all year round, we not only produce our Pecorino and Caprino (goats' cheese) but a delicious ricotta as well. During cheese production, the temperature of 45° centigrade is never exceeded and we make exclusive use of natural ferments.The result is a savoury raw-milk cheese which has its character and identity, but which can vary slightly from season to season according to the climate and to animal feed supply.