Slow Food

Cheese 2011: 160,000 Visitors and 600 Kilos of Caciocavallo

Italy - 19 Sep 11

As Cheese 2011 comes to a close today, Monday September 19, it’s time to step back and look at the big picture. An estimated 160,000 visitors came to Bra during the four days of the event, and the town’s shopkeepers and citizens welcomed them with warm hospitality. Apart from eating and drinking, the visitors to Cheese 2011 also had a chance to learn more about what Roberto Burdese, Slow Food Italy, called “the most beautiful world of food,” the world of cheeses. Education played a big role in the event, with the Slow Food Education space welcoming over 1,000 children. The youthful nature of the public was evidenced by the fact that a quarter of the people who joined Slow Food during the event were under 30. The new Presidia proved very popular; one example being Ciminà Caciocavallo from Calabria, which during the first two days of Cheese sold out the entire stock of 600 kilograms of cheese. “It was a surprise,” admitted Presidium producer Pasquale Romeo. “It’s the first time we’ve taken part in an event this important, and I won’t pretend I’m not very satisfied. We’ve learned a lot, strengthened relationships, made new contacts. We’ve been invited to many more events, including some abroad, and the next destination will be Paris. We were particularly struck by the interest shown by visitors. As well as buying our product they also wanted to learn how it was made and hear our story.” It was also the first time at Cheese for Aleksander Dimovski, a producer from the new Mavrovo-Reka Mountain Pasture Cheese Presidium in Macedonia. “I didn’t know how incredible this event was,” he said. “It’s 80 times bigger than I’d imagined. We’re very happy to have been able to display our cheese.” Affineur Sue Lonky, from Atlanta in the United States, was equally enthusiastic: ‘It’s been one of the best experiences of my career.” She said the special welcome from Slow Food and the citizens of Bra had made her feel particularly welcome, and that it was great to see how many interested young people were wandering around the stalls. “It gives me hope.” The various initiatives organized during Cheese 2011, like the open-air concerts, the program of events at the Literary Café (all sold out) and the meetings in the Biodiversity Space, were all used as opportunities for fundraising for Slow Food’s Thousand Gardens in Africa project. Thanks to Cheese, another 20 food gardens will be created. See you at Cheese 2013!