Lovers of Italian food will know it revolves around some basic staples, with pasta, vegetables and cheese among key non-meat ingredients for many dishes. For the highly-rated Toscana Italian restaurant, one of the major reasons it is able to stand out from a very crowded field, is partly due to its incredible variety, and, more importantly, quality of its cheese selections.
Located on Beach Road, Pattaya, right next to the Tropicana Hotel, Toscana, as noted in previous articles for the Business Supplement, sources practically everything that appears on its menu from its own organic vegetable and animal farms, located on the outskirts of the city.
One of the truly wonderful elements of being able to eat goat’s cheese is that it is easier on the human digestive system, being lower in calories and cholesterol than cheese made from cow’s milk.
When you add in the fact that the goat’s cheese products sold in Toscana come totally from the herd roaming the organic animal farm, you can basically be assured of a great taste, without the potential negative side-effects of ordinary cheese.
In other words, for anyone with an aversion to dairy products, but a hankering for the taste of cheese, then Toscana rates as arguably the best restaurant in Pattaya to visit and indulge in cheese tasting.
An interesting facet of goat’s cheese, according to Luca Marchetti, Toscana’s restaurateur and the man behind the organic farms, is how its taste will linger, and indeed become more evident on the palate, after you’ve eaten a particular dish.
“From every 25 litres of goat’s milk, I get about 2.5 kilos of goat’s cheese,” said Luca.
“Depending on what you want, from this I make some cheeses that are best to eat straight away. Cheeses that will last for only three or four days. Then there are some that you should keep for longer, that age very well.”
One of the best ways to get a handle on the wide variety and textures of goat’s cheeses available in Toscana is to order a cheese platter, with maybe a glass or two of the house red wine. One of the more intriguing and certainly incredibly tasty examples on the platter is the cheese-in-camicia, also called cheese-in-a-shirt. Basically, it is an aged cheese surrounded with a crust of pepper. The pepper is cut off, but the resultant cheese has a flavour that is as distinct as all the other cheeses produced by Luca and his team.
Luca makes all his cheeses in very much the same way he was taught as a youngster growing up in the Tuscany region of Italy.
Some examples of the variety of simple yet tasty meals Luca produces include a frittata made entirely of duck eggs and goat’s cheese, with organically-grown zucchini as the key vegetable ingredient. The resulting omelette is a perfect example of a very simple dish which brings out the freshness and quality of the products of his organic farms. His ravioli, made with spinach, ricotta cheese and olive oil is another example of a simple yet flavourful dish.
As an aside, Toscana does not have a specific house wine. A fresh bottle is opened and customers can have a single glass or a carafe. Luca has noted how many customers are wary of imbibing too much at lunch or dinner due to the laws on drinking and driving, so he is especially keen to make sure that a simple glass of house red wine (usually the best accompaniment with a cheese platter) is what one would term ‘a good drop.’