Pecorino is the cheese of Tuscany, the most commonly found, the best made, the most used. It's also almost invariably really, really good.
Made from sheep's milk, this sweet, nutty cheese is perfect on pasta, with fava beans or served alongside some good salami and prosciutto. You can usually buy it quite young, when it's still soft. We prefer it at about eight to twelve months old—like this one—when its bolder flavors come through. Serve at room temperature, but don't be worried if it sweats a bit of oil; sheep's milk cheeses are high in butterfat, so they tend to “weep” a little.
The wheels we have now are aged to almost a year. Normally this cheese has an almost Parmesean-like texture but the wheels from this current batch have a creamier than usual paste. The sheep's milk lends a light sweetness. There are savory notes as well with a distinctive citrus note in the finish.
Zingerman's Food Tours is visiting Tuscany in October 2014. Join us for a behind the scenes journey to traditional food makers like this.