An explosion of the senses……….
This morning one of my neighbours who thankfully still farms in the time honoured fashion of traditional animal husbandry tumbled down the dirt road in his Apetto, those wonderous three wheel vehicles so evocative of rural Italy.
An ancient farm, lovingly tended, chickens and geese wandering freely, both summer and winter vegetable gardens, and best of all a small flock of sheep all resplendent with Shakespearean names wandering freely in organic pastures on the hillsides under the ancient olive trees.
Milking is still done by hand, and the milk becomes not only the lightest ricotta, perfect on its own or in a fluffy baked ricotta cake, but also one of the finest cheeses in the world – Pecorino, eaten fresh or ‘stagionato’ mature, perfect for grating over hand cut pasta or simply on its own with local honey. My neighbour learnt his cheese making skills from a Sardinian shepherd so the cheese is good, real good, and this morning in celebration of the Pecorino I opened a bottle of Sagrantino di Montefalco and in the heat of the late morning sun we sat and I got to taste the new season Pecorino – fragrant, soft, yet at the same time crumbly, delicate, moist, utterly scrumptious.
It was just a wee taste, I am so spoilt, and fortunately I have twisted said farmer’s arm and a limited amount of said Pecorino will be on the table for breakfast here for you guys staying here this spring at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.