Cheese 2007: Where to Taste and to Buy
19 Jul 07
Where to Taste at Cheese
The Great Hall of Cheese
The Great Hall of Cheese at Cheese 2007 is returning to the atmospheric setting under the porticos of Corso Garibaldi. The area is divided into four distinct sections. The first section contains PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses from mountain areas of Italy, France, Switzerland and Greece; the next section has Italian and international Slow Food Presidia cheeses, with new entries such as Bolona goat cheese (Cape Verde) and goat cheese aged in caves (Sweden); we then have a section with about 60 different types of cheese, dedicated to intriguing and rare cheeses from distant countries or produced in very small quantities. Finally the House of Blue Cheeses, a selection of around 70 blue cheeses from Europe, the US, Australian and New Zealand.
Visitors can assemble a platter for tasting from among the 200 available cheeses, accompanied by a selection from over 1,500 wines in the Enoteca, a worthy complement to the Great Hall. The wines are selected from producers listed in the Guida al Vino Quotidiano (Guide to Everyday Wine) and Vini d’Italia (Italian Wine Guide) published by Slow Food Editore.
Please consult the Cheese 2007 Program for the list of PDO mountain cheeses and Presidia cheeses exhibited in the Great Hall of Cheese. It can be downloaded from www.slowfood.com or www.comune.bra.cn.it
The House of Blue Cheeses
Following the highly successful experience with the House of Goat Cheeses at Cheese 2005, the House of Blue Cheeses, situated inside the Great Hall, brings together the world’s top blue cheeses produced from all types of milk (cow, sheep, goat). In this area you can savor the results of ancient production techniques such as English Stilton, resurrected in its almost vanished artisan version thanks to the resoluteness of local cheesemakers and affineurs; or try newly conceived varieties such as Bleu d’Aoste from the Aosta municipal dairy. Or why not go on a virtual trip around the world with blues from Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand?
Adjoining the tasting areas is the Enoteca with sweet and passito wines from Italy and elsewhere, which are the best match for this type of cheese. Choose from late harvest, raisined or botrytized wines—such as the renowned Sauternes—or fortified wines such as Port, Sherry, Madeira Malmsey or Bual, along with German or Austrian Eiswein and Canadian Icewine.
Please consult the Cheese 2007 Program for the list of cheeses in the House of Blue Cheeses (downloadable from www.slowfood.com or www.comune.bra.cn.it)
The Tasting Booths
The Tasting Booths are places for refreshments where regional, provincial or consortium bodies present their local area through food and cuisine. Traditional recipes based on cheese are offered to the public in full menus or in small enticing snacks. You can also discover regional specialties through workshops, meetings, presentations and practical demonstrations enlivening these areas in the schoolyard of the Scuole Maschili in Via Vittorio Emanuele – Via Marconi, or in Piazza XX Settembre. The producers themselves are frequently available to meet the public.
It is not only wines from the Enoteca that can accompany the vast range of cheeses at Cheese: 12 artisan microbreweries have come to the Bierplatz in Corso Cottolengo, above the portico of Corso Garibaldi.
Italy is the country with the lowest annual consumption of beer in the European Union: about 29 liters per head, compared to 115 liters in Germany and 156 in the Czech Republic (data from Assobirra and The Brewers of Europe 2005). Yet consumers are becoming increasingly discerning and beer is not only seen as a thirst-quenching drink but as a good match for a meal or recipe. It is a beverage which is gaining popularity, and while obviously not about to replace wine, it appeals to people wanting to enjoy new sensory experiences. The Italian, Belgian, Czech and German master brewers present, to just mention some of them, will be delighted to help you appreciate their outstanding achievements.
Where to Buy at Cheese
The Great Cheese Market
The events organized by Slow Food are also an international showcase for the association’s projects. The Great Cheese Market at Cheese defends and presents small-scale products and know-how, it educates consumers to make discerning choices and promotes producers who take an ambitious risk. These are producers who combine high product quality with respect for the environment and social equity. This year the Great Cheese Market is moving to Piazza Carlo Alberto and surrounding areas (the gardens of Piazza Roma, Via Roma and Via Cavour). Here visitors will be able to get to know producers directly, and they in turn can consolidate friendships and cooperative ventures created over the years. This is the case, for example with affineurs—they have spontaneously created a cooperative network, continuing with each edition, involving Italy, Britain, France, Switzerland and Spain; they will be present at Cheese to describe their work, as well as to bring the best European cheeses for visitors to buy.
Stall holders also can offer a selection of wines chosen from the top Italian labels to enhance the right wine and cheese combination.
The Cheese Presidia
There are many small producers around the world who are resisting the laws of globalization and competition within the cheese and dairy industry and continuing to use raw milk and ancient traditional methods.
They are the focus of projects organized by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, proof that it is possible to help these defenders of taste and tradition. Cheese 2007 will welcome more than 50 supporters of this philosophy, representatives of artisan knowledge that knows no boundaries. The Island of Presidia will host Eastern European cheeses, a main feature of Cheese 2007, with Brânzá de Burduf, a sheep’s cheese aged in pine bark from Romania; Sack Cheese, a huge cheese produced in Bosnia which is aged in a sheep skin; and Oscypek, a spindle shaped sheep cheese made in Poland by shepherds from the Tatra Mountains. Italy will showcase more than 30 Presidia cheeses, including Parmigiano from the milk of White Modena cows, Castelmagno from alpine pastures, Gargano goat cheeses and Monti Sibillini pecorino. There are also little known cheeses from Northern Europe (Norway, Sweden) as well as the even more unfamiliar Bolona goat cheese from Cape Verde. Then there is artisan English Cheddar, Swiss Zincarlin and the amazing cheeses brought to Bra by US and Irish producers testifying to their daily battle for raw milk.
The Slow Food Foundation will present its projects in the Church of San Rocco, (between Via Principi di Piemonte and Via Cavour) with documentaries and shorts, photographic exhibitions and talks. Here you will be able to sample coffee from two Presidia (Hueuetenango Highlands, Guatemala and Sierra Cafetalera, Dominican Republic) roasted by inmates of the Vallette prison in Turin and distributed by the Pausa Caffé cooperative.