Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Claudio's farm

This is Claudio's home, milkshed, factory and farm. I should clarify. It's the summer farm (yes, as opposed to the winter farm). It's roughly situated about 2500m up in the Italian Alps. In autumn, they pack up camp and cows and moo-ve below the snow line. This seasonal migration of man and beast (or transhumance/transhumanza) is still widely practised in the manufacture of Fontina Valle d'Aosta.

It is here that Claudio milks a small herd by hand twice daily.  His day starts at 3 am, ends about  9 pm and the result is the most glorious Fontina. So yes, another cheese post.

For anyone who has travelled to Europe and tried these historic cheeses, it is such a revelation. To be happily munching away on what could be the most glorious food accident, be it oblivious or aware to the historic (Fontina is at least 700 years old and Taleggio, for the record, dates back to the 10th century) roots of their lunch, what could be more blissful? When people say they eat, sleep and breathe history in Italy, they couldn't be more right.

It makes me glad to be studying food and researching cheese. I can appreciate the boring stuff but it is the "independent research" that is so much fun. However, we aren't in Italy this Christmas.. it is beautiful South Island New Zealand for me. So I am off in search of cheese over the holidays at factories and small farms. I am making a plan and should have a follow up post all about it in the New Year.

Ciao!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Looking forward to reading about your finds. Happy New Year.