Pecorino – A Truly Tuscan Cheese

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pecorino – A Truly Tuscan Cheese

Posted by Dympna Docherty (30/10/2015)

Like the rest of Italy, Tuscany is well known for its range of fabulous foods. For tourists, sampling the local cuisine is normally a top priority, but with so many tasty treats to choose from, where do you begin? Cheese is a staple part of the Tuscan diet and something the locals excel at producing. Pecorino is probably the cheese most closely associated with the region, so we wanted to let you in on the action.

What is pecorino
A hard cheese made from ewe’s milk, there are four main varieties of pecorino which all have Protected Designation of Origin status. This means only cheese made in certain specific places in Italy can truthfully be called pecorino. The cheese is still made to an original method which dates back thousands of years, having been a staple part of the diet of Roman legionaries and being mentioned in the writings of ancient authors such as Pliny the Elder. This means, when you bite into a piece of pecorino, you are tasting a piece of Italian history.

Romano or Tuscano?
The most popular variety is Pecorino Romano, one of the officially recognised areas of production for which is the Grosseto Province of Tuscany. There is also a local variety, Pecorino Toscano, which is very popular throughout the region. Pecorino Romano tends to be harder and saltier, while the Toscano variety often has a more buttery texture and nuttier flavour. However, this does vary from producer to producer, so the only sensible option is to try as many different varieties as possible!

How to eat it
As a hard cheese, Pecorino is easy to grate or shave and is often used as an alternative to parmesan on pasta and salads. It can also be used at the end of a meal where it is frequently paired with figs, pears and walnuts and drizzled with honey. The Toscano variety is also sometimes incorporated into desserts where its less salty flavour is an advantage.

Where to get it
Pretty much all delis and markets in Tuscany will sell at least one type of pecorino, but it is also worth heading direct to a producer if you can. Corzano e Paterno is a pecorino producing farm halfway between Florence and Siena which also offers tours of their facilities and cheese tasting sessions.

Many of the To Tuscany team are based right here in Tuscany, giving us a fantastic insight into all that’s best about this wonderful region. We are always happy to advise our customers on the best things to do, see and, of course eat, so once you’ve found the perfect Tuscan villa to rent feel free to pick our brains about the rest of your trip. 
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Visiting Pietransanta

Friday, October 23, 2015

Visiting Pietransanta

Posted by Mikolaj (23/10/2015)

Renowned as a hub of artistic creativity, those taking a holiday in Tuscany may want to consider visiting Pietransanta. Situated 3km from the coast, 32km north of Pisa, and lying at the foothills of Apuan Alps, the comune is easy to access by car or train and offers plenty to do and see.

Bozzetti Museum
Follow the creative process from start to finish at the Bozzetti Museum. Filled with examples of how sculptures are developed and made, it is a treat for lovers of art history and theory, as well as newcomers to the artistic world. The museum is based in the 16th century former convent S. Agostino, is free to visit, and is open throughout the year.
The museum includes a park filled with contemporary sculptures by international artists that show how much sculpture has progressed and evolved since the times of Michelangelo.

Piazza Duomo
This Piazza is home to Pietransanta’s Duomo and a number of small cafés that are perfect for relaxing with a coffee and a light bite. Visit the church of S. Agostino to see an inspiring church that has a beautiful stained glass window, a marble pulpit, and frescoes.
The piazza also frequently showcases contemporary sculpture so expect to see unique artwork throughout your visit.

Marina di Pietrasanta
Just 3km from Pietrasanta is a coastline of golden sands. The beach’s beauty has given it the reputation of one of Italy’s best beaches and it is a great location for an afternoon of fun in the sun. Go to a private beach and pay for the luxury of using sun loungers, restaurants, and their other facilities.

To Tuscany provide a selection of handpicked luxury Tuscany villas for those looking for a bespoke Italian experience. Browse our website to see our selection of villas where you can relax and unwind or use as a base to explore everything that Tuscany has to offer.
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Truffles Tasting in Tuscany

Friday, October 2, 2015

Truffles Tasting in Tuscany

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Posted by Virginie 02/10/2015

Truffles are one of the world’s most expensive foodstuffs, ranging in price from hundreds to thousands of pounds per kilo. For food-lovers, they are often seen as one of the ultimate gastronomic delights. Tuscany is one of the world’s top truffle-producing regions, so if you’re planning a holiday in this part of Italy, it’s well worth fitting some truffle tasting in while you’re here. Read on for our beginners guide to this most delicious of delicacies.

What are truffles?
Truffles are a type of fungus usually found around the roots of trees. Traditionally farmers have struggled to cultivate truffles, meaning that the only way to produce them was by heading out into the woods to find places that they grow naturally. In recent years, however, growers have had some success with mass producing truffles, but this industry is still in its infancy and many feel the naturally harvested variety are far superior to farmed truffles.

Types of truffles
There are a number of different types of truffles on the market, but the two most common are white and black truffles, both of which can be found in Tuscany. White truffles are generally the more expensive of the two, with the current record being set by businessman Stanley Ho, who paid £165,000 for a 1.5 kilo specimen in 2007. Black truffles, by comparison, are relatively cheap, but will still set you back anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds per kilo.

Where to find them
Fortunately, the flavour of truffles is so strong that even the tiniest amounts can transform a dish, so you can easily sample their delights in many Tuscan restaurants without having to remortgage your home. Rather than trying to buy truffles yourself for home cooking, we recommend finding a restaurant with the expertise to make the most out of this precious ingredient. Tuscany’s top truffle hot spot is found in the hills around the town of San Miniato near Pisa, with many of the local eateries featuring the fantastic fungus on their menus.
The team here at To Tuscany can help you find the perfect place to stay while you sample all the delights that Italy has to offer. With villas in Pisa, Florence, Siena and through the entire region
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