Mozzarella and Parmigiano might be Italy’s most legendary cheeses; in Tuscany, Pecorino Toscano rules the scene. Pecorino is made from sheep’s milk [the word for sheep in Italian is ‘pecora’] and is typically produced between November and late June. Today I am super excited to visit acclaimed producer Fattoria Corzano e Paterno: their artisanal cheeses are sought-after by international chefs, cheese lovers and the top restaurants in Florence.
I start my day in the stables where I meet with Till Gelpke. Till is responsible for the herd of 500+ sheep and the milk production. As soon as I set foot in the stables, hundreds of Sardinian sheep eyes are pointed in my direction. This is the perfect crowd if you are longing for some attention. Pecorino Toscano is always made with milk from sheep that graze or are fed dried grasses. During the warmer months the sheep are allowed to roam the lush pastures surrounding the farm. Till talks about ethical farming and his search to be a producer with respect for tradition, environment and other species. I also meet Ram, one of the sheepherders. With a polite smile he offers me to hold one of the newborn lambs: who could resist?
Till’s herd supplies all the milk that is used to produce the Corzano e Paterno cheeses. I leave the stables [and my new fluffy friend!] behind and make my way to the dairy, where Toni Ballarin welcomes me. She, together with Nicoletta and Claudia produce more than 10 varieties of cheeses. At the tasting shop I sample ‘Erbolino’ [fresh creamy pecorino infused with red pepper, garlic and parsley], ‘Stagionato’ [robust pecorino aged 6-10 months, with a hint of salt on the palate], ‘Rocco’ [lightly acidic, creamy and reminiscing of a goat cheese]. I complete my tasting experience with the ‘Blu’ [a blue cheese encased in dried grapes and wine leaves] and a glass of Corzano e Paterno’s award winning ‘Il Passito di Corzano’: a match made in heaven!
The Tasting shop at Corzano e Paterno is open Monday – Saturday from 9-13h. To place an order [they offer wonderful 'cheese boxes' for the holidays], you can call directly +39 055-8248179.
Pictured above: Nicoletta in the dairy, Fresh ‘Marzolino‘, ‘Erbolino‘, Mirella at the tasting shop, ‘Blu‘ paired with ‘Il Passito di Corzano‘ and Toni with gift ‘cheese box’.
Fattoria Corzano e Paterno: Via San Vito di Sopra, San Casciano, 50020 Firenze, Tel +39 055 8248179.
Further reading on Fattoria Corzano e Paterno: Travel + Leisure