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The 2021 Grape Festival
We start working on the land to be sown
Today we’re working with the CREA research institute, to reduce copper in the vineyards
On the table today, Bell Pepper Timballo filled with Penne with Peperotta
Harvesting in La Vialla’s biodynamic vegetable patch
Today we are with Carlo for a mid-August check on La Vialla’s olive groves and vineyards
Today at La Vialla, Ricciole with Parmigianina
We visit the flock of sheep in the pastures at Casa Conforto
The wheat threshing festival through the eyes of photographer Roman Raacke
The wheat threshing festival
Today for lunch at La Vialla, bread gnocchi with anchovies and cherry tomatoes
In La Casotta vineyard with new environmentally friendly equipment
In the vegetable patch at La Vialla today we transplant parsley
In La Vialla di Sotto olive grove for the pre-flowering inspection
Today we visit La Casotta vineyard for the green pruning
Today at La Vialla Stefania prepares a savoury tart with pesto and ricotta
Today we visit La Vialla’s young Valdarno breed chickens
Mundus Vini Biofach 2021: Video of the award ceremony
Red carpet at the Fattoria - Mundus Vini Biofach 2021 award ceremony
Graham Candy's La Vialla Music Writing Camp 2019 by Crazy Planet Records
Today at La Vialla, Carciofina croquettes for lunch
At Ca’ dell’Oro farmstead, renovating ancient terracing
The Chianti vineyard at Casa Conforto.
Today at La Vialla we make ricotta “gnudi” dressed with sage butter.
Today we’re making La Vialla’s typical pizza with pecorino
"La Vialla's Easter eggs"
Today at La Vialla’s Museum, some old farming tales from Giancarlo
“La Grillaia”, a new olive grove at La Vialla 3 years after planting
Today in La Vialla’s highest vineyard at Spedale farmstead
Today at La Vialla, Valentina’s seasonal oven baked rigatoni
Winter pruning in La Vialla’s strawberry patch
Today we’re in the olive grove at La Vialla to break up the ground
Today winter pruning in La Casotta vineyard at La Vialla
Today Erika prepares a savoury flan with Tuscan kale and new olive oil
"2020 a La Vialla"
Today at La Vialla Stefania prepares Giuliana’s sweet almond focaccia
In the olive mill at La Vialla with Andrea for a quality check
In the barn at La Vialla, the first newborn of the season
At La Vialla’s olive mill, making oil with basil
In the kitchen at La Vialla, wild boar stew with Sugo Finto
Today at La Vialla, picking olives at La Scampata farmstead
Concours Mondial de Bruxelles: October 1st 2020, the Viallini at the award ceremony in Rome
Today we pick Sangiovese grapes
Today at La Vialla Stefania prepares a savoury tart with peppers
Harvesting the Vernaccia di San Gimignano grapes at Castelvecchio
Today in Il Ronco vineyard we pick white Chardonnay grapes
"Summer 2020 at La Vialla"
Today on La Vialla’s table, Ricciole with grapes
Today in the workshop at La Vialla, “Piccantissima” sauce
In the vegetable garden at La Vialla, today we’re picking the aubergines
Today with Andrea in the olive grove at La Vialla, monitoring the trees’ health
Today at La Vialla Carmela prepares a recipe with Piccantissima sauce
Reducing copper in La Vialla’s biodynamic vineyards
Today at La Vialla we spray the “Horn Silica” biodynamic preparation
Lasagna with Basil Pesto and Pomarola
Today various tasks in La Vialla’s biodynamic vegetable patch
Reducing copper in La Vialla’s biodynamic vineyards – today with CREA
Today we use innovative equipment in La Vialla’s vineyard
Today at La Vialla, aubergine “accordions”
Today we make the horn silica biodynamic preparation or 501
Today for lunch for the Viallini, homemade gnocchi
Green pruning of the new shoots
Today we check the biodynamic compost heaps
Today at La Lignana we prepare stewed lamb in red wine
Today we build shelters to create shade
Today we are at Cortona in La Vialla’s Syrah vineyard
Savoury Tart with Ribollita and Tuscan Kale Crisps
Mundus Vini Biofach 2020: Video of the award ceremony
Mundus Vini Biofach 2020: February 13th 2020, the Viallini at the award ceremony in Nuremberg
Today we plant “aglione” in La Vialla’s vegetable patch
Today in La Vialla di Sopra olive grove doing winter tasks
Today, winter pruning on the terracing at Casa Rossa
Pasta Bake with Salsa Etrusca
Today at La Vialla, preparing and spraying biodynamic preparation '500'
Today at La Vialla, maintenance of the vineyard trellising
Vertical wine tasting of Casal Duro with expert Götz Drewitz
Today La Vialla’s Carabaccia with Vino Novo
At La Vialla’s barn and dairy during the holiday season
Zuccotto with Luigina
On the farm, Fattoria... La Vialla E-I-E-I-O
Alceo evaluates the ripeness of the olives for extra virgin olive oil
In the olive mill, calibrating the temperature while making oil
Photos of the Grape Festival
The new families of Valdarnese chickens born during the summer
Today we make cannelloni with Tuscan ragu and hazelnuts
Today we choose Sangiovese for Vin Santo “Occhio di Pernice”
Today at La Vialla, peppers filled with pasta
A 'filmino' (= little film) of the wonderful afternoon and evening in the vineyard
Photos of the Grape Festival
Today at the museum, grape roll for dessert
Last harvest in the vegetable patch for bombolino sauce without skins
Today, August 29th, we harvest grapes
Checking the olive groves
In the vegetable patch, harvesting basil for the pesto
Today Aubergine Parmigiana reinterpreted by Luigina
Celebrating the Haystack
La Vialla Song & Music Writing Camp by Crazy Planet Records
10 Musicians at the Fattoria: Concert and Writing Camp October 2018
An anthem for La Vialla
Today Panzanella, a traditional all-in-one meal with what’s in the vegetable patch
Today in the vegetable patch we plant the last crop, the hot chilli peppers
Today we evaluate the young fruit in the vineyard and olive grove
Today we make timbale with zucchini and Rosalina
The vineyard at La Casotta, experimenting half the amount of copper
Today we plant vegetables in the field behind Casa Conforto
Green pruning at La Casotta farmstead
After six months the biodynamic preparation is dug up
Strawberry Mousse Cake
Award ceremony at the Grand International Wine Award @ProWein, Dusseldorf (Germany), March 17th 2019
At the Museum in the Landowner’s Room
In the dairy, from curds to drying-out
Today in the vineyard at Spedale using an innovative tying method
Today spring roulades with asparagus
Today in the olive grove two types of pruning for olive trees
In the barrique cellar the barrels are filled with 2018’s wines
Maintenance at Casale Farmstead
Nothing is thrown away from the kitchen - La Ribollita
At the Museum, in the grandparents bedroom
Mundus Vini Biofach 2019: Video of the award ceremony
The Viallini at the Mundus Vini Biofach 2019 Producer of the Year International and Best Sweet Wine
Soil assessment with the Spade test
Two kinds of pruning at Casa Conforto
Today Strozzapreti with Tuscan Kale Pesto
What’s on the menu today at La Lignana?
Hamburg Aimate Week 2018-Speech by Gianni and Antonio Lo Franco
Summer 2018 at the Fattoria
A surpride for Marco, the aenologist: the 100/100 score awarded by the panel chair judge at the IWSC 2018
The grand table celebrating 40 years of La Vialla, 1978-2018
Spring greetings from the farm
Award ceremony for "Producer of the Year 2018" at the Mundus Vini Biofach, Nuremberg
The Vino Nuovo and Olio Novo have arrived!
La Vialla's Christmas Menu
Video: In the bajery, Francesco prepares the Viallina Biscuit House
IWSC London 2017: Video of the award ceremony
Recipe: La Vialla made of Cantucci bricks and Stracci tiles
Autumn has arrived at the Fattoria
IWSC London 2017: Video of the award ceremony
Video of the ceremony and laudation
B.A.U.M. Environmental Award 2017, Frankfurt am Main
Francesco prepares the Easter dive-shaped cake
Video of the ceremony and laudation
Small photo album 2016: Moments from a year at the Fattoria
Mundus Vini Biofach 2017: The Viallini at the Award Ceremony
"Slightly" out tune but from the heart ...Merry Christmas from the whole "Banda" of La Vialla
The Panettone à la Francesco
Fattoria La Vialla is "Italian Wine Producer of the Year 2016" at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, London
Official viceo of the IWSC awarda banquet, November 16th, 2016, London
End of October: harvest and lunch with friends in the Ca' dell'Oro alive grove!
A great celebration in the vineyard at casotta farmstead
September 28th 2016: La Vialla in the Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg
"May in the strawberry patch: harvest and happy hour with the guests"
A "Little Big" keepsake of the concert held on july 8th 2015
"Mundus Vini Biofach 2016: The Viallini at the Award Ceremony" (video by Felicitas Umlauf)
"Vin Santo: from grapes to Grand Gold at the Mundus Vini Biofach 2016"
Francesco's chocolate salami
A star in the sky at La Vialla Grape Festival 2015 (Video by Felicitas Umlauf)
Celebrations for "40 years of La Vialla" at the Fattoria
News from the Fattoria
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Holidays at La Vialla
La Vialla and nature
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Recipe archive



Il Pecorino (= Sheep’s milk cheese)

Pecorino Cheese La Vialla

Dear friends, scroll down for the price list with details of each product. Below it you will find information on Fattoria La Vialla’s organic-biodynamic production methods.

Pecorino Cheese La Vialla
Pecorino Cheese
Pecorino Gran Riserva 12 months(matured at least 12 months)Weight per piece approx. 400 g
Weight per piece approx. 400 g
£13.40
£ 13.40
Pecorino Gran Riserva 24 months(matured at least 24 months)Weight per piece approx. 400 g
Weight per piece approx. 400 g
£16.85
£ 16.85

Il Pecorino (= Sheep’s milk cheese)

Pecorino is one of the protagonists of Tuscan cuisine. It’s not just the mainstay of the classic “tagliere” (= board) for a snack, together with salami, prosciutto and bruschetta, it’s also an important ingredient in a great many regional recipes. Grated, in flakes, cubes or slices, or in “chunks” for the more mature cheese. It’s an ideal ingredient for “Pici, cacio e pepe” (= Pici pasta with cheese and pepper); and in pesto with basil. On top of a piping hot dish of spaghetti with tomato sauce, a “spolverata” (= sprinkling) of Pecorino and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil are a must. Its unique characteristics depend, first of all, on what the sheep eat, on the type of ground they graze on and, then, on the quality and method used when making the cheese. In Tuscany, in our area, the particular microclimate and the clayey pastures give delicate, fragrant types of Pecorino.

To make 1 kg of Pecorino it takes approximately 5 litres of milk. For La Vialla’s cheeses it comes from our sheep, which, all year long, according to the season, “wander” around the Fattoria’s pastures and fields. At Fattoria La Vialla the system used for the animals is completely eco sustainable, integrating the closed cycle of biodynamic agriculture and production. In fact, extensive farming according to the rules of biodynamic agriculture, use of all the products from the sheep (milk, meat, wool, manure), high productivity and low requirements for food and water, are all characteristics that make them a valuable resource.

Michelino and La Vialla’s Pecorino
Michelino and La Vialla’s Pecorino

Tuscan pecorino cheese – nutritional characteristics

For those of you who are unfamiliar with pecorino... it is a typical Italian hard or semi-hard cheese, made with sheep’s milk. It’s of Mediterranean origin, typically made on small farms, particularly suitable for artisan production or even for making at home. Since ancient times, sheep have accompanied man in the evolution of agricultural life. They are fairly small, particularly versatile animals, which are robust and generous because they give us good quality milk, wool, meat and manure.

The ewe is lovingly milked by hand
The ewe is lovingly milked by hand

Once, and still today in some areas of the Italian Apennines, shepherds used to have a few dozen sheep and move them from one pasture to another or, with the seasons, from lowlands to hillsides and vice versa, according to the traditional “transumanza” (= transhumance). Pecorino is a particularly nutritious cheese: it contains a high percentage of noble proteins, about 25%; good fat content, approximately 40%; as well as mineral salts and plenty of calcium (100 grams of pecorino contain the recommended daily intake of calcium established by the Ministry of Health). The European Community has awarded the Protected Designation of Origin denomination (DOP in Italian) to some typical regional types, for example “Pecorino Toscano”, “Pecorino Romano” and “Pecorino Sardo”. Numerous Slow Food presidia have also been created to protect local, less known types. One of the places in Tuscany where this cheese is practically a cult is Pienza, a picturesque medieval town in the Val d’Orcia, in the province of Siena, home of the prestigious award bearing the name of the town.

Biodynamic sheep farming

The Fattoria’s “ladies” – the ewes – are approximately 1,200 (there are also 8 rams). The majority are of the Sardinian breed, which is popular in Tuscany thanks to the goodness of its milk and its “rustic” characteristics, which allow the sheep to adapt well to the temperate climate, with fairly cold winters and long, sunny summers, to the hills and woodland pastures, full of different plants. In particular, this breed is excellent for Fattoria La Vialla’s biodynamic farming methods. Together with the wild plants, the plurennial pastures are sown with a mixture of different seeds, in order to naturally supply the animals with all the substances they need. The same is done in the fields used for haymaking.

Sheep grazing outdoors in spring
Sheep grazing outdoors in spring

The fundamental aim of the biodynamic farming system, with the aid of La Vialla’s shepherds Damiano, Antonio and Giuseppe, is that of making sure the sheep receive all the care required and, at the same time, giving them the possibility to thrive in their natural environment. Rearing these animals and the relative forage production is a fundamental part of the Fattoria.

Michelino and Damiano with their cheeses
Michelino and Damiano with their cheeses

An “agricultural organism”, in its continuous evolution, cannot go without rearing animals, in particular ruminants. The fodder crops and the well-balanced manure produced, which leads to vitalisation of the soil, significantly contribute to the stable and prosperous development of the farm. The manure, after maturing in the compost, is periodically dug into the ground, encouraging the increase of organic matter and the preservation of the humus.

Homeopathic treatment
Homeopathic treatment

The differences between biodynamic, conventional and intensive farming

On the contrary to “conventional” or “intensive” farming, in which the animals live a short life, with very little space available (sometimes less than the size of their own body) and without ever seeing the light of day; in biodynamic farming, and in particular at La Vialla, the sheep have room to stand up and lie down without difficulty, they have a dry place to sleep in an environment with a suitable temperature. They can go out to graze every day, in particular during the summer months. Castration is forbidden, as is the application of rubber rings on the lambs’ tails and tail docking. A lambing area must be foreseen. In the barn there is access to natural forage twice a day. The use of electric stimulators is prohibited.

A pasture near Casa Conforto farmstead
A pasture near Casa Conforto farmstead
The lambs are happy on fresh straw
The lambs are happy on fresh straw

From the day they’re born, the lambs are guaranteed contact with the other sheep and they are weened very late, between the age of 40 and 60 days, so they can feed on their mothers’ nutritious milk, which is fundamental for their healthy growth. The animals’ diet is based on forage produced by Fattoria La Vialla. Biodynamics also prohibits the addition of antibiotics, sulphonamides, coccidostats, hormones, other synthetic organic compounds or other drugs to animal fodder. The use of isolated amino acids, “fattening enhancers”, “productivity stimulators” (antibiotics and dietary probiotics) and synthetic chemical additives (except vitamins) are also forbidden. Industrial flours, of all kinds, are banned.

A significant difference can be seen by the minimum space required in barns according to the various regulations: in conventional farming, each sheep can be confined in a space that isn’t defined precisely and, due to this, is usually immorally small; in organic and biodynamic farming a minimum of 1.5 m2 is guaranteed per animal. Biodynamic farming is more respectful, not only for the sheep and shepherds – as is extensively described above – but also for the environment. In fact, it completes a closed cycle, which ensures that resources are used completely and avoids waste and costly transportation.

The pecorino production process – from milk to cheese wheel

Thanks to the biodynamic system and the pastures full of many plant varieties, the milk produced by the sheep at Fattoria La Vialla has a fresh aroma and high nutritional content. On average it contains between 6% and 6.5% of protein (among the highest values for ovines and almost double that of cows’ milk) and 7% of high quality fats. In the barn, immediately after milking, the shepherds cool the milk down straight away and then it is taken to the dairy, where it’s pasteurised at a low temperature (72 °C) for 20 seconds.

This procedure, known as “termizzazione” (= thermisation), is an excellent compromise between the “raw milk” technique, which is more suitable for making cheese at home rather than on a large farm, and pasteurization over 85 °C, which is commonly used. It ensures the “health” of the pecorino and of its enthusiasts (even children and pregnant women) while keeping the aromas and nutrients intact.

Breaking up the curds
Breaking up the curds
Valentina checks the ageing cheeses
Valentina checks the ageing cheeses

In La Vialla’s small dairy, which is located close to the other workshops and the wine cellar, pecorino is produced every other day. Under the careful supervision of Mario (the Fattoria’s vet), Valentina and the other staff begin work early in the morning, before dawn, because the steps are simple but they take time, manual skill and experience. The milk in the big pans is heated to 40 °C – like the sheep’s body temperature – and then rennet and selected fermenting agents are added. At this temperature an enzymatic reaction makes the milk solidify, forming an elastic mass known as the “cagliata” (= curds). The curds are broken up using special blades, choosing a smaller or larger particle size depending on whether the cheese produced is to be eaten fresh – pecorino “abbucciato” (= rindy) – or to be aged. Once the curds have been broken up, the grainy liquid is slowly poured into the moulds. The dairy workers’ skilful hands rapidly fill them and start turning them over. Timing is essential so that the liquid, the “whey”, drains off symmetrically and the cheese can then mature uniformly. The cheese wheels – while still warm – are put straight into the drying-out room, where they drain for 24 hours in an environment with controlled temperature and humidity, and are then salted. Salt is the only natural preservative used on La Vialla’s pecorino. At the dairy, as in all of the Fattoria’s production processes, nothing is thrown away! The whey is collected and heated again to make fresh ricotta cheese – in fact ri-cotta literally means re-cooked – which is served to the guests or used to make some of our sauces, such as La Rosalina.

Pecorino “Abbucciato”
Pecorino “Abbucciato”

This procedure is repeated several times during the morning, until all the milk has been used. After salting the wheels of pecorino have to be tended to constantly. Life carries on inside them through the activity of bacteria and enzymes, which constitute the cheese’s slow fermentation process in the maturing room, at a constant temperature (approximately 10 °C) with variable humidity.

“Fresh” pecorino will be ready after 30-60 days, the “Abbucciato” takes 3-7 months; after a period exceeding 10 months the cheese is called “aged” or “riserva”. No chemical treatments are used on the rind of La Vialla’s pecorino; during ageing it is only “rubbed” with olive oil, to help preserve it.

La Vialla’s Pecorino cheese
La Vialla’s Pecorino cheese

How to store pecorino cheese at home

Pecorino is a live product, but at the same time it’s stable (not refrigerated). La Vialla’s cheese isn’t treated with any chemical agents and therefore requires a little bit of attention from time to time. When it reaches the age of 30-40 days, and the rind can be seen to have thickened, if possible it should not be stored in the fridge but in a suitable place, such as a pantry or cellar, away from light and heat sources and well protected from flies. If this isn’t possible, keep it in the fridge wrapped in a cloth or paper. As the days go by, the rind on the cheese wheels will become covered with a slight layer of mould, exactly as occurs in the ageing room at the dairy. Don’t worry! It’s a natural process that’s valuable because it protects the microflora, allowing the aromas to evolve in the best possible way. When you want to use it all you have to do is rinse the rind under running water, leave it to dry and rub it with a little olive oil (usually the part left in the bottom of the bottle is used or last year’s oil)

Pecorino – recommended cooking combinations

Just a “taste” of what you can prepare with pecorino cheese – take a look at the Recipes section of this website for photos, recipes and useful tips. Fresh pecorino, aged between 30 and 60 days, is normally eaten as part of a typical Tuscan “merenda” (= snack) on a board accompanied by salami, ham, bruschetta and bread. It’s also excellent for a simple dessert, to prepare in 5 minutes, pan-cooked pecorino and honey. Pecorino “Abbucciato” is more versatile: with its fresh but intense flavour, it’s good as a cheese course at the end of a meal, served with jam or mustard made, amongst other things, with pears or peppers, possibly with the addition of spices.

Fresh pecorino with Chestnut Honey
Fresh pecorino with Chestnut Honey
...grated on top of pasta...
...grated on top of pasta...
...pan-cooked with Wildflower Honey
...pan-cooked with Wildflower Honey

Pecorino “Gran Riserva”, aged from between 12 and 24 months, is ideal to grate on top of a typical pasta dish – spaghetti with tomato sauce, with tomato, olive and capers, with chickpeas, Carbonara or Amatriciana – or on soup. In pesto sauces (red, with sun-dried tomatoes, green, with basil, or any other type you want to try), the pecorino should be chosen according to taste, trying it out in the recipe as you prepare it. Very mature pecorino, aged for over 24 months, is for connoisseurs and it’s a good idea to savour its complexity on its own, with just a sip of well-structured wine, such as Chianti Riserva or Vin Santo.

Awards and recognition for La Vialla’s pecorino cheese

Fattoria La Vialla’s pecorino cheeses have asserted themselves in major competitions dedicated to typical cheeses. In particular at Pienza (home of pecorino in Tuscany) where, at every corner of the medieval town, the noses of passers-by are tempted by the delicious aromas wafting out of traditional shops, and where they organise national competitions like the “Premio Pienza” cheese contest and “Le Forme del Bio”, which is specialised in certified organic and biodynamic cheeses.

The Pecorino receives a prize in Pienza
The Pecorino receives a prize in Pienza
certificate 1st position pienza 2015

The Fattoria’s Pecorino Abbucciato won a Silver Medal in 2014 and the Pecorino Gran Riserva 12 and 24 months won 2 Gold Medals in 2016. Gold Medal at “Le Forme del Bio” in 2008 and Bronze in 2009. In 2017 our gran Riserva 24 months won a Bronze medal at “Biocaseus”, an international competition dedicated to organic cheeses, and came first at the “Premio Roma”, a prestigious national competition.
NB: Each type of pecorino produced at the Fattoria has a pamphlet attached with information about the nutritional values, “Viallino” production methods, tips on storage and how to get the best out of the Fattoria’s cheeses.