One of Montalbano’s most popular typical food and wine products is the raw-milk pecorino from the Pistoiese Mountains. There, mountain dairy farmers raise Massese sheep, with their spiral horns and a shiny black coat, and produce three qualities of cheese with different ripening periods: fresh, abbucciato (or rinded), and asserbo pecorino.
According to its stage of ripening, this ivory-white cheese has a sweet, soft texture with various gradations of flavor. Similarly, the color of the rind can vary from a straw-yellow to a gray-brown. It is excellent when accompanied by Tuscan bread, or when used to enhance the flavor of polenta or boiled potatoes. In rural areas, it is eaten with pears and necci (chestnut-flour fritters). Of similar interest are the excellent local ricotta, ricottina, and ravaggiolo, other delicate and fragrant delicacies.
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