Pecorino is the only Tuscan cheese that has been awarded the coveted mark of the DOP, Protected Designation of Origin. In all, only 29 Italian cheese have received the mark, making our Pecorino something special, indeed.
The history of Pecorinois a rural one. In the early days, the transumanza, or nomadic shepherds, prepared a fresh cheese during their wanderings with the herds. Many of their methods are followed today. Andrea Righini, director of the Consorzio di Tutela, tells us, “There is a very close bond between a geographical environment, the characteristics of the milk to be transformed into cheese and the production methods, which are still those of the craftsman: this is the great merit of this cheese.” Sheep who graze our grasslands produce a very good milk that is sweet and delicate, yet with a distinctive flavor. [photodelish.com]
The flavors of the milk translate to the cheese, just as they did in centuries past. Shepherds then had to search out lands where olive trees and grape vines could not grow, and they took their herds to graze in the high meadows of the Apennines, the marshes of the Maremma, and the gullies of the Crete Senesi. As they wandered from pasture to pasture, the made and traded their Cacio cheese.
Pliny wrote a good deal on these cheeses in his Natural History, telling of how the arrival of immense wheels of cheese in the capital of the Empire caused excitement. For centuries, the cheese making was conducted in much the same methods as used by the earliest shepherds. In the springtime the appearance of shepherds offering cacio marzolino, the first cheese that curdled in the springtime warmth, was a regular occurrence. These cheeses, fresh or aged, were justly famous. In the 15th century, Plantina, a historian to the Pope, called marzolino “the cheese in Italy,” the only that could stand comparison with the already famous Parmigano. By the 19th century, the art of cheese making was regulated by municipal authorities.
This attests to the importance of the cheese, which kept the peasants from starving, and provided income to the great landowners. Pecorino was the regular meal for farm laborers. As stated before, the place of cheese in rural culture was age old, but things soon changed. if you can’t find Pecorino Toscano, you can substitute Pecorino Romano.
This cheese has more sharpness and ups the salty flavor. Pecorino Romano and Pecorino Toscano would make an interesting cheese board at your party. With both cheeses you can taste how each cheese of a “similar” concept work with Remole. You can taste the Pecorino Toscano with the wine first. Just smell the cheese and look at its beauty just like you would with a wine. Now taste the cheese and do The Cheese Highway™ with Remole.
Now you can enjoy how this cheese pairs with the wine. Honey and Pecorino Toscano is delicious. I’d recommend a sweeter honey at first like a wild flower honey or, if you can find it, Tuscan acacia honey. Drizzle just a little bit of the honey on the cheese and then properly execute The Cheese Highway™. You can see how this addition of honey gives you the gift of another flavor adventure to experience with the same cheese and wine.