May 29, 2012


Bringing Italy Home

It’s no secret that I have a thing for cheese, especially pecorino. I’ve gone way off the beaten path more than once to go to the source and see this cheese being produced at a farm in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. There’s just something that about pecorino that I can’t seem to get enough of.

I heard of a shop in Lucca specializing in cheese and set out to find it. I had a vague idea of where it might be and even thought that I may have been in this very shop two years ago. I walked around and around in what I thought was the general area of the shop and couldn’t find it. Finally I came upon the space in the first photo (sorry about the refection), thinking it was the elusive shop, but it was closed. I snapped a few photos and set off down the road.

A day or too later I was back in the area and just around the corner from what I thought was the shop, I found the actual cacioteca and it was open. The interior of the shop was tiny with a few grocery items lining one wall and a case with an amazing array of cheese. The shop owner was behind the counter and we managed to communicate with my fledging Italian and I bought a few pieces of cheese to have back in the apartment.

What was even more exciting than walking out with some incredibly fresh cheese produced in the area surrounding Lucca was that I found out that I could buy pecorino and they would vacuum seal it and I could take it home with me in my suitcase! On my last day in town I returned to the shop and bought a round of pecorino to carry home.

Once back in the states I hesitated to open it, not wanting it to be gone. After a few days and a lot of “Italy withdrawal” I tore open the wrapping found a jar a of balsamic spiked honey from Italy in the cupboard and went at it. It was everything I had hoped for. There’s only one problem. I should have bought at least two if not three rounds of this incredibly flavorful cheese. Anyone out there headed to Tuscany?

Don’t forget ot leave me a comment to be entered to win a copy of The Southern Italian Farmer’s Table.

12 thoughts on “Bringing Italy Home

  1. Looks wonderful, you are so lucky. We aren’t allowed to bring anything like cheese into NZ (without huge dramas that is or importer etc) as I learnt the hard way when I came home in March……..Someone in NZ customs will be enjoying Pienza pecorino:). Where in Lucca is the shop? Isn’t there a cheese shop up the end of via Fillungo going towards the Bike shops? wonderful blog as always

    • Smokehag-we’re not allowed to bring any soft cheeses back and I’m not totally sure which ones are on the acceptable list but I do know that parmigiano reggiano is okay.

  2. I drooled in this shop just last September! I love the medium soft pecorino from Pienza. Have you tried it with black truffle honey and figs, sprinkled with pine nuts? Absolute heaven!

  3. I am going to Lucca in Sept and would like to know where the cheese shop is so i can bring home some great cheese.. Do you have an address?

  4. One of the phrases we learned was “sotto vuotto” – vacuum pack is your friend 🙂 We bring back parmesan every trip, and that first “opening” when we return is magic. The scent of Italian cheese always takes us back to Italy…

  5. I confess to smuggling the local capre cheese home from Varese Ligure every time I go. It helps prevent the joy of having been there from slipping away too fast, just to be able to eat the same food once you’re gone.

  6. Pingback: Autumn In Tuscany-Cook With Panini Girl In Lucca « Panini Girl

  7. Pingback: Holding Onto Italy « Panini Girl

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