May 10, Siena
We visited a Pecorino (sheep's milk) cheese producer in the area, our guide being a tiny woman with an outsized personality. She showed us the equipment used to heat and stir the milk, walked us by several of the aging rooms, and then demonstrated how quickly the milk sets up when rennet is added.
Each of us then got to make our own little cheese, with the milk/rennet mixture spooned into small baskets. We then gently pressed out whey and could take the cheese with us. It was unsalted, and I found it bland, but it was interesting.
We then headed upstairs to their restaurant, where we were served a delightful lunch. It was here that our usual "weather luck" seemed to run out, as it started raining, but it was a soft rain that presented me with a nice photo opportunity, and the rain had stopped by the time we reached our next destination.
We then traveled to a hilltop winery, where we were to have an olive oil tasting and "cooking class" in the evening. We got to sample the wines, some of which were very nice, and the outdoor setting was gorgeous, with the rain holding off.
The cooking class was along the lines of others where we primarily chop and prepare the ingredients, which are then cooked by the host. But this was a lot of fun, with sausage making thrown in, and lots of wine. All in all a very enjoyable experience, even if not educational.