The Crete Senesi are a great clay basin located in the southern part of the province of Siena and comprising 10 municipalities: Pienza, Montepulciano, Monteroni d'Arbia, San Giovanni d'Asso, Trequanda, Castiglione d'Orcia, Radicofani, Siena, Torrita di Siena and Rapolano, names, these, evoking also excellent wines.
This area is partly covered by a thin layer of yellow sands, tuffs or the so-called "sienna", which is deposited during an intermediate stage of lifting of these areas from the sea.
This has encouraged the development of plants, shrubs and herbs particular, capable of greatly flavor milk obtained from the sheep that feed on them. Botanical experts have counted more than 30 types of flora pratense spontaneous, including salsify, wormwood, serpentine, wild oats, alfalfa, clover yellow sands, the fennel, radicchio wild, savory , thyme and juniper, to name a few.
Originally, in these areas, they lived exclusively sheep "Siena" and "valdorciane", but since 1960, the influx of shepherds with their flocks from Sardinia, gave a decisive turning point and currently, the sheep belong to the present 94% to race "Sardinian". The arrival of the Sardinian shepherds helped to merge techniques, traditions and, above all, to give rise to some forms of cooperation in order to be able to reduce the excessive fragmentation and discontinuity of characters cheese, produced until then in a myriad of small semi-domesticated laboratories which could not guarantee the constancy necessary to achieve commercial success even outside the region.
The "cheese" cheese of the Crete Senesi, after the curing phase that lasts for several months, shows dark crust and wrinkled, while the dough inside is quite white, crumbly, with rich aromas and notes of grazing animals that trespass decided in notes of herbs. The palate is dry, it tends to crumble releasing tactile sensations slightly astringent and then ending with a persistence that brings feelings toward the mouth rather sweet, characteristic of sheep's milk.
Finally, a historical curiosity: the name Tuscan cheese that continue to use is the most significant evidence of the antiquity of the presence of the cheese on their tables; in fact, comes from the Latin "caseus", later replaced almost throughout Italy by the term "formaticum", dating back to medieval times instead.