In Tuscany, in the region of Mugello, the land of the Medici Family, the making of Cacio is an ancient art form. Cacio is better known as Pecorino.
The production of Pecorino cheese in this region is of major cultural significance, blending ancient recipes, traditions and artisan expertise. The Etruscans were devoted shepherds who refined the art of cheese-making. These cheeses were celebrated as the finest cheeses in Italy as early as 1400.
Since their beginnings in the 1970′s, the partners of the Il Forteto farming co-operative have continued the “Mugellana” traditions.
The first cheese room was built from the old stable under the house where the milk was transported from the sheep fold in churns and the cheese was pressed by hand. Although today’s cheese room is more modern to ensure the ease of a slightly larger production and the highest standards of food safety, the traditional details of production are in place. For example, Mozzarella’s are hand braided, the Ricotta is still stirred with small shovels, and the Cacio/Pecorino are seasoned by hand with olive oil, ashes and tomato puree.
The agricultural cooperative was the dream of a group of young former students, former workers, and former teachers who took a giant leap of faith to change their lives and form a cohabitation of true respect and equality. For Stefano, one of those original young students, the dream began as early as age 15, as did his compassion children in need.
Originally, the farm focused on the art of cheese making and how incorporates orchards, hay, grains, and the breeding of rare Chianina cattle. From these organic gifts of nature a myriad of delicious products are created.
What has grown from Stefano’s shared dreams with his friends is not only the products created at Il Fortetto, but an amazing family unit embracing not only the shepherds, farmers and workers but, since it’s first days, a home for orphaned children with special needs.