he answers to the most frequently asked questions

Caseificio Val d'Orcia
What milk do you use to produce your cheeses?
We produce pecorino cheese, so we exclusively use sheep's milk, except for the "Ricotta mista Val d'Orcia.

What does sheep's milk contain?
Sheep's milk is a nutrient-rich food with vitamins that promote metabolism, antioxidant power, and minerals beneficial to bone and dental health. It is ideal for sports enthusiasts as its protein quality is exceptionally high, containing a rich composition of essential amino acids, particularly phosphorus and zinc, a great ally for nail and hair health. Approximately 100g of sheep's milk provides about 130 calories, distributed as follows: 19% carbohydrates, 60% lipids, 21% proteins.

What makes the milk produced in Val d'Orcia unique?
Its uniqueness is attributed to the clayey soils typical of Val d'Orcia. On these clayey soils, a mix of aromatic herbs typical of the area (such as savory, mint, thyme, and radish) grows, expressing their distinctive fragrance in the milk, making the flavor of the resulting pecorinos unmistakable.

How many liters of milk are needed to produce one wheel?
In general, to obtain one kilogram of pecorino, approximately 7-8 liters of sheep's milk are required.

What are the differences between raw and pasteurized milk?
Raw milk is milk that does not undergo thermal treatment, meaning it is not subjected to the pasteurization process. During pasteurization, the milk is heated to a temperature above 72°C but below boiling for no less than 20 seconds. This process allows the milk to retain its organoleptic properties and becomes safe for human consumption, as pasteurization eliminates harmful agents present in freshly milked milk.
How is pecorino cheese produced?
Our pecorinos are born from traditional production methods as well as a desire for continuous experimentation. In brief, pecorino is made with sheep's milk, which is heated and then coagulated with animal or vegetable rennet. The curd is then broken into small pieces and placed in special mold bands, where it is pressed to extract the whey. The cheese is then salted and aged for a variable period, from a few weeks to several months, depending on the type of pecorino desired. The skills of the master cheesemakers, the quality of the milk, the heating temperature, the type of rennet, aging, and maturation play a fundamental role in the final product.

What are the differences between fresh, semi-aged, and aged cheeses?
The difference lies in the aging time, that is, how long it stays in our storage rooms. We refer to fresh pecorino for the one sold about 20 days after production, characterized by a light and semi-hard rind; semi-aged pecorino, which stays in storage for about 2 months; and aged pecorino, which is sold after about 4 months of aging.

What is rennet?
Rennet is a substance that causes milk to coagulate, transforming it from liquid to solid. There are two types of rennet: Animal rennet, extracted from the stomach of animals, and vegetable rennet, extracted from certain plants, such as fig or thistle.

Are there cheeses that do not contain lactose?
In our lactose-free cheese line, we treat milk with Lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose into two more easily digestible sugars. The cheeses still retain the same characteristics of "palate pleasure," maintaining a delicacy and amiability unchanged compared to other traditional lines that many know and enjoy.

How should cheeses be stored?
Sheep cheeses should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between +4°C and +8°C, wrapped in cheese paper or parchment paper.
When do the first records of Pecorino from Val d'Orcia date back to?
The roots of Val d'Orcia's pecorino go back to ancient history. Traces of this type of cheese seem to date back to the Neolithic period. Pliny the Elder told us about how the Etruscans made large and tasty forms of pecorino. In the first half of the 1400s, Pius II seems to have placed a seal on the best pecorino productions to recognize them. In 1798, Santi, during his journey to Val d'Orcia, stated: "The cheese made with the milk of sheep fed on aromatic herbs, which are very common in the clayey soil, is highly accredited and gives it a delicate and exquisite flavor, as I have noticed."

When was the Dairy of Val d'Orcia established?
The Dairy of Val d'Orcia was established in 1964, inspired by the vision of Don Oscar Guasconi. His dream was to create a cooperative dairy, a stronghold of ancestral flavors and knowledge, capable of safeguarding and enhancing local shepherding.

How many members does the Val d'Orcia cooperative have?
The cooperative has over 150 members, custodians of ancient knowledge passed down from generation to generation. The precious sheep's milk they produce every year helps create cheeses of the highest quality, capable of delighting even the most discerning palates.

Is it possible to make purchases at your dairy?
At our sales point, you can purchase all the dairy products we produce. It's an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the gastronomic culture of Val d'Orcia and take home a piece of this unique and special land.
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