Made in Tuscany in Italy, this version of Pecorino Toscano Fresco is made in the town of Contigiano in the province of Siena by Società Cooperativa Val d’Orcia Società Agricola.
The co-operative is comprised of the dairy farmers that supply the sheep’s milk for cheesemaking.
Since Pecorino Toscano has name protected (DOP) status, the rules surrounding production of the cheese are strict. As such, sheep’s milk for cheesemaking is required to be sourced from the regions of Tuscany, Umbria & Lazio.
Upon arrival at the creamery, the milk is pasteurized. Starter culture enzymes and animal (calf) rennet are added to the milk, which is then heated to and held at 95˚-100˚F (35˚-38˚C). This promotes curdling, with the effect that the curd breaks into “hazelnut” sized pieces, which are then transferred into molds and are pressed by hand.
The molds are moved to a “hot room” and held at a temperature of 82˚-95˚F (28˚-35˚C) for approximately 2.5 hours. This accelerates the draining of any excess whey and helps the curd reach the optimal pH levels.
At the appropriate moment, the temperature of the room is lowered to 59˚-68˚F (15˚-20˚C) and the process of handsalting each form begins. This hand salting is repeated regularly for the first 36 hours, each wheel being salted and turned. Cheeses are then transferred into the aging rooms where, according to the DOP rules, they’re matured for a minimum of 30 days before release.
With this version of Pecorino Fresco, there is virtually no distinction between the rind and the interior of the cheese. The texture is smooth, dense and semi-soft and yello-cream in color.
Flavors are rich, sweet and mild accompanied by a slight tang. There are hints of almonds, lanolin and grass with a clean, balanced finish.