Tasting authentic Italian cuisine at a cheesemaker's agriturismo.
Arriving at Casa Lawrence after a short drive from my mother's village, we met Loreto the owner and cheesemaker. We'd made arrangements to come by and although he wasn't normally open at this time, he did us a favor, knowing it was the only time we could visit.
Loreto refused our help and prepared a table outside, under a gorgeous fig tree, then began bringing out the most mouth-watering antipasti: cheeses, prosciutto, bread, pickled vegetables, pizze (not a typo, pizza is singular and pizze is plural) and a carafe of wine. It was so hard to be polite and wait for lunch to begin with everyone seated, but somehow both Mum and I managed! The cheeses which were brought out for us to try were aged Caciocavallo, fresh Pecorino di Picinisco, D.O.P, Marzolina (the log cheese), Blue Valcomino and Pecorino Stagionato, which was the cheese we had seen in the aging room.
Here’s a valuable Italian lesson for you: whenever you see D.O.P. after an Italian food product, it’s a good thing. Literally, it means Protected Designation of Origin: think Champagne–you know that only sparkling wine which comes from the Champagne region of France can legally be called, “Champagne”, right? It’s a way to ensure that consumers are not being duped by “knock off” cheeses, meats and wine, for example.
Another tip to help you with your Italian cheeses: “pecora” means “sheep” in Italian, so whenever you see any type of Pecorino, you will know that it was made with sheep’s milk.
The meal was one of the most memorable I've ever had. I will definitely be going back to visit to have a real cooked meal there when his restaurant is open.
Loreto hosted us for lunch. You can read more on my site.