Podere Il Casale offers different types of cooking courses. Email or call for prices.
Podere Il Casale lies in South Tuscany between Pienza and Montepulciano. Up on a hill, far away from busy streets, you have a wonderful view of Val D`Orcia to the tallest mountain in the region, Monte Amiata. Podere Il Casale is a medium sized farm in the region with 61 hectres(170 acres) of land.
Whether they are the future of the farm, we will have to see. The five have been a lot of work but have enriched our lives to no extent. They have helped with driving the tractor in the fields, serving our guests in the diningroom and other enterprises. We are optimistic about their futures and the future of our little community.
Out of the urban swamps of Milan emigrated Massimo and he has been here in our small world for 10 years. All of the casale products go through his hands and he is a favorite in the kitchen when he makes wood fired pizzas. Many say this is the best pizza in the area. Massimo is also active in our agricultural endeavors.
If spring leaves enough water reserves, we send them straight to the garden. There is nothing more crisp and sweet than freshly harvested garden lettuce or tomatoes grown with your own hands. If our garden doesn't produce enough, we have many contacts with other small, local vegatable growers.
With our tiny pig operation we produce meat for proscuitto(italian dry cured ham), sausages and other raw cuts, which we serve in our restaurant. The breed of our pigs is the ancient breed, Cinta Senese, known to be held by the Etruscans. Our pigs are seem very happy as they frolic in the open spaces that we provide for them.
There are 45 seats in our beautifully renovated former stable that now houses our guest dining room. This comfortable room also houses a bar, a large fireplace and a piano. There is also outdoor seating either on the Cortile, a courtyard, or on the beautiful terrace with a view of the Val d'Orcia, Pienza and Monte Amiata.
Dinner(Supper) - There is a daily set menu, the largest part of which is products produced on the farm. Reservations are recomended.
Lunch - On request we can prepare a cold or hot lunch.
Podere Il Casale is connected with a variety of volunteer organisations. It is possible to work with us and we will cover food and board. The volunteers must stay and work with us for a minimum of 2 weeks. Long stays are also very welcome.
We have two guestrooms that we offer to our guests. The guests can use the nearby but detatched restrooms.
Our small goat herd(26 females, 1 billy), are led daily through the forest for fresh green food. They don't belong to a special breed which has resulted in them being more robust, they don't need to be pampered and they are almost never sick. When they aren't escaping and eating the olive trees, they are surely our favorites.
Our 150 Sardinian dairy sheep go daily to the pasture. They lamb one time a year in winter and produce milk for about 6-7 months each year. They produce the best milk in the spring when the pastures are rich with clover and a variety of herbs. Our animals are cared for with Homeopatic products and natural medicines.
Sandra is a founding member of Il Casale so has been with us since 1991. She takes care of guests, volunteers and the farmhouse just to name a few things. Unfortunately for her, she must also deal with the Italian beurocracy. But when she shows the guests or school groups around the farm, she becomes the twinkle of everyone's eye. Of course the hardest work is with her 5 children who at times need to be chewed up and spit out.
Back in 1991, Ulisse, one of the founding members of Casale, was stranded in Pienza. To live on and from the countryside was the largest motivating factor in his emigration. What then was just an idea is now reality. The realisation of this dream blew up into a complex entity with multitudinous administrative arms. But when happily making cheese, cooking, milking, harvesting, building or driving the tractor, life is beautiful. If only the day had 48 hours!
We also have a olive tree orchard for olive oil production and we, like the other producers in the area, are very proud of our oil. We only make cold pressed olive oil and as soon after the harvest as possible. We pick the olives in the Autumn months of October and November. Besides our own olive orchards, we also help in the harvest of neighboring farms.
We have a small camping area with incredible views of the Val d´Orcia, Pienza and Monticchiello. The 6 campsites are partially in the shade and on the grass while there are graveled places for RVs. Showers and electricity are available. Our guests also receive a breakfast of food made from our farm products.
You can also stay in a camper. They are cozy but they are without a kitchen and bathroom.
In the farm cheese dairy, sheep(Pecorino), goat(Caprino) and ricotta are produced. The organic milk for these cheeses comes from our own production. Most of our cheese is unpasturized and at different stages of ripeness. Our goat won the 2008 first prize at the national organic cheese awards "Le forme del Bio."
We can create special menus and events available to guests thanks to our unique rural surroundings. Just ask and we will make suggestions!
Farm School: On request, we have various courses for groups or schools. We have tours with expert guides as well as a showcase of bees, in which the lives of work of the bees can be studied. We also have practical hands-on training like the courses "From Milk to Cheese" and "From Grain to Bread."
In the fields are both feed grains (barley, oats and triticale) for the animals, as well as durum wheat for pasta and farro (ancient Etruscan grain) for bread production. Because of the climate, we can only grow winter cereals, which means we sow the seeds in the fall and harvest in July.
We have both red and white grapes in our vineyards(approx. 4 hectres or 12 acres). It is difficult to protect against fungal attacks while farming organically. We use organincally approved copper and sulfur preperations. The wine is made by Thomas Wold and then we receive the finished product.
Two prized beekeepers produce our honey. The hives are distributed to different areas so we can produce a various assortment of honeys. Thanks to very little intensive farming in the area and much natural habitat, our honey is free from involuntary antibiotic contamination. We produce wild flower honey(Millefiore, Sulla, Trifoglio), forest honey(Castagno, Bosco). A specialty of the farm is blackberry blossom honey(Rovo). And we also carry the standard acacia and sunflower(Girasole) honey.