The pecorino of the Volterran crags has a long history in this area as we have proofs of its existence since ‘400 from Pantaleone from Confienza and later in the ‘700 from the letters between the famous scholar and archaeologist Guarnacci Mario and his teacher Salvini. In these letters they indicate the strong appreciation for the “Volterran cheese” as it was called then.
Pecorino Balze Volterrane
The milk used to produce the “Pecorino of Volterran crags” must be strictly whole sheep’s milk and should not suffer any type of heat treatment and it must be processed within 48 hours after the first milking. The raw milk is poured into a boiler of copper or stainless steel until reaching a temperature ranging from 30 ° to 40 ° Celsius. The vegetable rennet thistle is added to the warm milk and we can also add some types of ferments (obtained from the serum of the previous processing).
The milk will clot for a period ranging between 30 and 60 minutes. When the clot has reached the right consistency is broken with a special curd instrument that we call “spino” until the cheesy lumps have reached the size of a hazelnut for the “fresh” cheese, “semi-mature” and “seasoned” cheese, and a peanut or bean rice for the “Asserbo”.
The clot can be cooked and after that the cheese mass is extracted and pressed manually in special containers and then is transferred on the dispersing tables to facilitate the removal of the whey. After 1 to 10 days when the cheese is dry, we manually salt it according to its size.
The salt in excess is washed with water. This cheese is great for creating tasty dishes and interesting pairings as for example with mushrooms and fish.
raw and organic whole ovine milk, our selection of cow lactic ferments, thistle vegetable rennet and salt.
The shape: cylindrical with flat sides and rounded edge The edge height: about 5 to 15 cm
The sides diameter: about 10 to 20 cm
The weight: about 500 grams up to 2 kg
The crust: rather smooth ranging in colour from pale yellow to deep yellow. After the treatment with olive oil or ash it looks grey
Cheese dough: harsh, dark coloured from ivory white to pale yellow. It has a few small holes.
Storage temperature: +4°C/+10°C
Shelf life: 12 months
Fat in dry matter: 26,70%
Proteins (Nx6,25): 14,00%
Maturing: Fresh: from 7 days up to 44 days
Semi-seasoned: from 45 days up to 6 months
Seasoned: from 6 months up to 12 months
Asserbo: more than 12 months
Smell: persistent and reminiscent of milk and thistle, with hints of herbs and flowers.
The flavour: the first bite is sweet and savoury. At the end is slightly spicy – a feature that escalates with an increasing maturation period. We can notice a slight puckery sensation in the more seasoned cheeses. It’s a complex and extremely elegant cheese with a long and lingering taste with hints of fresh vegetables.