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Pienza pecorino cheese


Pienza is a Renaissance town in the province of Siena, created by order of the fourteenth century Pope, Pius II.  The production area of this Tuscan sheep’s cheese is that surrounding the ‘Siena clays’, small rounded hills that provide poor pastures, much loved by the sheep.  Pienza sheep’s cheese is produced in two different versions. The red, fresh cheese version is semi-ripened and coloured with tomato juice as a protective coating, whereas the ripened version has a black rind. It is not a piquant cheese as is often the case with sheep’s cheeses since calf rather than kid rennet is used to make the cheese (vegetable rennet was frequently historically used in Tuscany ). Pienza Pecorino is the most commonly used in making the Sogliano al Rubicone ‘Trench’ Cheese.

Organoleptic characteristics
Aspect: soft, yellow paste with a few holes in its red version and harder and grainier in the black version
Taste: intense but sweet rather than piquant
Serving suggestions: full bodied, red wines. Hot pear or quince chutney. Tuscan ‘sciocco’ unsalted bread
Technical characteristics
Milk: full fat, raw or pasteurised, sheep’s milk
Production method: artisan and industrial
Paste: pressed
Salting: dry
Ripening: 1-2 months (red), 3-6 months (black)
Production period: throughout the year
Fats: 45 % F-Dm
Weight: 1-2 kg
Size: 10-15 cm diameter, h. 5-8 cm
Producers: dairies from Siena