For most international visitors, Tuscany will conjure up images of rolling hills, cypress trees, and crumbling castelli. But if you were to give the romanticised region a flavour, a sumptuous red wine would come to mind. There’s no doubt that when visiting Tuscany, the home of Chianti, wine tour itineraries are at the top of the list of things to do. |
If you’re curious to learn more about the beautiful region, both through its history and its flavours, a Chianti wine tour is a delicious way to do it. Plus, for those foodies among you, it’s a perfect opportunity to get a taste for the region’s cheese tradition, which is just as fascinating. Made by following techniques passed down over the centuries, there is a wide choice of Tuscan varieties to nibble on. Here’s a brief introduction to a few of the best!
The first thing you’ll notice is the large selection of Pecorino cheeses on offer. Each region and producer will have their own way of making it and each one is uniquely delicious. The name comes from the Italian word “pecora”, which means sheep. Sheep farming is widespread in Tuscany and, today, it’s mostly dedicated to producing milk - the key ingredient in this delicious food.
The variety has been made for centuries, and it’s commonly recorded in old documents as cacio marzolino, meaning March cheese, as it used to be made in spring. Thankfully, it’s available year round nowadays. Pecorino Toscano has a soft or semi-firm texture and is created using full-fat ewe’s milk. Traditionally, it’s matured for up to 20 days so it maintains its subtle, sweet flavour.
Pecorino delle Balze Volterrane
For something a little more special - which packs a bit more punch in terms of flavour - this is your next tip. Produced using raw sheep’s milk, Pecorino delle Balze Volterrane has been made in Tuscany since the 1400s and is a fat, semi-hard cheese. There are four different varieties to choose from, depending on the kind of maturation you’re looking for.
Its signature herbal aroma is created by using a special vegetable rennet made from cardoon flowers. This is an unusual take on a classic and a Chianti wine tour is the perfect opportunity to try it.
Pecorino di Pienza aged in barriques
Although it’s not the most famous, this one is produced in the little town of Pienza, which is considered to be the “capital” of Pecorino, due to the unique sheep pastures that make the milk extra fragrant and delicious. There are several methods to making it, but one of the most unique is the Pecorino di Pienza aged in barriques, during which the cheese is aged in oak barrels for 90 days.
Boschetto al tartufo
Last but certainly not least, we have Boschetto al tartufo, which is a semi-soft variety made using both cows’ and sheeps’ milk. Aged up to 60 days and enriched with white truffles, this one has an earthy undertone and a creamy texture. It’s perfectly paired with a large glass of Italian red wine and thinly sliced prosciutto.
There’s no better way to learn about a place’s history than through its food and drink. A Chianti wine tour is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in all that Tuscany has to offer - and it’s made even better with cheese!
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best Chianti wine tour from Florence. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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