This classic ewes milk hard cheese from Tuscany, Italy, has a flavour that develops, becoming more intense over time.
This natural rinded seasonal hard cheese is made with pure ewe’s milk from June to September, in a cooperative system that collects milk from numerous shepherds across 650 acres of rolling Tuscan hills. As the cheese ages, it’s regularly wiped with olive oil from the estate to prevent mould growth during the minimum four-month maturation period in damp humidity-controlled cellars. The thick rind develops a burnt golden colour whilst the nutty texture gradually becomes dense and flaky with a slightly sweet finish. The flavours become more intense over time, reflecting the environment in which the cheese is made.
A little history
Il Forteto (“the fort”) is a commune tucked away in the Muggelano Valley, 30km from Florence, in Tuscany where the co-operative produces some of the best pecorino in Tuscany. Il Forteto farming cooperative was established by a group of young friends in the 1970’s, with the help of grants from the Italian Government. The group runs the farm on organic principles, and apart from growing most of their own food and wine, it has also become very successful in the production of cheese, Chianina beef, apples and olive oil. They now produce more than 1000 tons of ewe’s milk cheese and 350 tons of stretched cow’s milk cheese, and the brand represents more than 20% of all Tuscan DOP* Pecorino.
DOP = Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin)