Sunday, October 30, 2016

Meeting the Cheese Maker: Podere il Casale

Early morning found our group on the bus again, headed to the region of Val d'Orcia in Tuscany near Pienza.  This is the area where the best Pecorino cheese is made, and we were headed to Podere il Casale an organic farm.  Our bus driver made a few wrong turns, but we finally headed down a bone shattering rutted road, towards the farm.  A torrential rain was falling, and the weather had turned cold, I was waiting for it to snow.
Our group was epic, they were ready for anything

We were met by the owner of the farm, Ulysses.  He came to this area in 1991 from Switzerland, wanting to start a farm and to make cheese.  He began our tour by telling us a bit about himself, the farm and then inviting us to see the animals.

After explaining the sustainable practices on the farm, Ulysses led us all back to a warm room where he would make some cheese for us.  Pecora is the Italian word for sheep, thus the name Pecorino for the cheese.

After donning his lab coat, Ulysses began the cheese making demonstration.  

Adding Rennet


Cheese molds

Curds and Whey

Shaping the cheese

Putting the cheese into the molds

 Once the cheese was made we were taken to the dairy where the cheeses are aged.

Fresh cheese

Very old cheese

After the visit to the dairy it was on to the dining room for our lunch.  A selection of various aged cheeses, and condiments to serve with them began the meal and from there we were treated to delicious courses from the farm.  

Once we'd had our lunch, and thanked our host, we were off to a walk about in Montepulciano.  The rain continued to fall, but our group was intent on getting the most out of our days in Umbria.  So grateful to have been able to share my favorite places with them.  Ciao for now.

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