It was a long journey fraught with misadventure, but we have made it to Italy. I would not even be here without my brother Glen’s emergency delivery of my forgotten prescription to the airport. Bob’s mom Bridin rented a nice little apartment that just happens to be a block away from St Peters Square. The winding marble stairway to the third floor apt is certainly a workout.
The little cobblestone alleys are very safe feeling and near such a literal mecca that many people speak English. My Italian phrases are helping more than I expected.
Last night we had dinner at Taverna Angelico around the corner. We shared an appetizer plate. There was a semi hard cheese called “Pecorino di Pienza” I will dub it “pecorino magnifico.” Adorned with a light drizzle of honey, it may have been the best cheese I have ever eaten. I thought, “If the first thing I put in my mouth in italy is THIS good, it’s going to be one heck of a trip.”
From the interwebs:
This unique sheep’s milk cheese gets its name from the ancient city of Pienza, located just a few miles from Montepulciano. Pecorino di Pienza is considered the best pecorino produced in the Crete Senesi, a specific area within the province of Siena…Pecorino di Pienza, a favorite of Lorenzo il Magnifico, is a cooked-milk cheese made with whole, raw milk from sheep of the sarda breed (or possibly appenninica or sopravvissana). The sheep are raised out in the open and graze exclusively on the local flora. The aromas of rare plants that grow in the clay soil of the Crete Senesi (wormwood, meadow salsify, juniper, broom, burnet …) can be sensed in the sheep’s milk.
…After about 40 to 60 days the fresh cheese is ready to be consumed and has a soft, slightly spicy flavor. If left to age for five to twelve, or even eighteen (the best for grating) months, the cheese will have a 40% fat content, a full, long-lasting flavor. This aged cheese is not spicy, but has a tannic aftertaste and a soft, crumbly texture in the mouth. Pecorino di Pienza pairs perfectly with chestnut honey from Montalcino and the wines of the region, from Chianti to Montepulciano
The carpaccio was also unbelievable. Can I say drizzled twice in one post? I think I have to. The carpaccio was drizzled with an intense and thick balsamic. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as pleased with my pasta. Bob, however, loved my pasta as well as his own fish dish. The waiter noticed something was awry and so I told him I just wanted something light. I asked for an entire plate of that cheese. So delicious.