Podere Il Casale – So This is What Cheese Tastes Like!

Italy - 2013 9743 months later I’m starting to forget details about the trip.  But I’m not forgetting feelings.  I remember having that “How can I prolong this moment, I don’t want to leave, I’m such an idiot for scheduling more things than I should” feeling more than once, all in Tuscany.  And while sitting outside in Podere Il Casale on that perfect day, trying to decide whether I prefer the grape aged Pecorino or the one aged with walnut leaves, only to be interrupted by that stunning view, that feeling took over again.

Nestled smack in the middle between Pienza and Monticchiello, Podere Il Casale, an organic farm producing sheep’s (pecorino) and goat cheese that was unlike anything we ever tasted.  It was like eating cheese for the very first time.  Sandra and Ulisse run the farm since 1991.  Sandra gave us an overview of the place (much bigger than it seems at first) and cheese making process, while showing us the facilities and Ricotta making in action.  The 5 minute old Ricotta was easily the most satisfying ever.  But I couldn’t get enough of that Pecorino, especially the aged stuff.

Podere Il Casale is more than just a cheese producer.  Its a full service Agriturismo, attracting lodgers, campers, farm students and volunteers.  2 meals a day including a wood oven pizza expert hanging around in the premises (how can I get a pizza expert hang around my premises, all I have is a crazy neighbor and her dog), cooking classes, and various educational programs are offered.  They also produce wine, olive oil, pasta, honey, and even some prosciutto. All that in an absolute jaw dropping setting, making other pigs and sheep extremely jealous.  The cliché “Pictures don’t do this Justice” has probably been invented in South Tuscany, somewhere near here

Sandra and Ulisse also recently received a grant by the Italian government that allows them to open operations oversees.  As long as they sell and promote Tuscan based products, the gov’t will help sponsor the operations.  First stop, NYC, slated to open in a few months.  I will post details here as soon as I get them

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Categories: Italy, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Podere Il Casale – So This is What Cheese Tastes Like!

  1. Engred

    Oh Ziggy, this post makes me so happy. One of the great memories from my first trip to Italy in 2009 was the lunch we had here, with Ulisse explaining the wine and Sandra whipping up fantasticly simply dishes for us. Now if only we lived in NY so we could visit their store. Guess I will just have to send the in-laws down from Greenwich to buy their goodies!

    • Just realized the white dog didnt make the cut. Just say the word and I’m adding it. 😉
      Yes, its a magical place

  2. Tanya

    Love cheese! What is that cheese in the first picture? Excellent pictures (that butterfly!) and that view is totally mesmerising. I’m hoping their NYC shop opens before December 14.

    • Looks like the opening has been pushed to next spring, sorry. That cheese is Pecorino aged with grapes. Looks ugly but tastes incredible

  3. Michelle Rowe

    Sigh……

    Great family photo capturing a wonderful moment.

    • Thats the one place I had to to share a family photo after getting wife’s approval… “Fine.. I look decent.. so fine”

  4. Debbie

    I was here in 2011 for a cooking class on our first day in Tuscany! We all said if we had to go home the next day our trip was complete! We absolutely loved it and want to go back !

  5. I am suitably jealous! Love your photos and definitely want to visit Podere Il Casale. Grazie!

  6. Susan

    Hello! I am wondering if you can tell me how you arranged your lunch and tour? I am trying to send them a message via their webpage and it isn’t going through.

    • I was dealing with Sandra at turismo@podereilcasale.it
      It may take a few days for her to respond. Let me know if it still doesn’t work

      • Susan

        Thank you so much! I couldn’t find an email address on the web page, only the webform that was crashing. Terrific to have this!

  7. Bill Quarre

    We did this today and loved it! What a cool place. We are going back for lunch. Thanks!

    • That’s great. Say hi to Sandra from Ziggy when you do

      • Bill Quarre

        I forgot to add that Sandra said that Thomas Keller had been there and that per se is serving their cheese. I can’t remember which ones. The two year old pecorino might be one.

  8. Maryann

    I just emailed them! It would be lovely to visit or even spend the night there. Thank you! I’ve been reading different blogs on traveling to Italy and I really enjoyed this post!

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