“This has been a great edition of Cheese, one that has attracted a large number of young people and foreigners. The awareness, curiosity and intelligence of the public at large is stronger than ever, which gives us good reason to believe that the overall situation of cheese production is undergoing positive change,” said Slow Food President Carlo Petrini today – the closing day of the international event dedicated to artisanal dairy, held in Bra, Italy.
More than 160,000 people have attended Cheese over the past four days, and around 50,000 of these visitors came from outside Italy. 21,000 visitors to the Great Hall of Cheese and Enoteca tasted their way through almost 900 kilos of cheese and 9,000 bottles of wine. All 37 Taste Workshops were fully booked, and the free Milk Workshops – covering environmental, scientific and political issues linked to the world of cheese and dairy – were also full.
Here are some comments from the thousands of visitors, cheesemakers, researchers and volunteers who have been at Cheese:
“It was lovely to be a part of Cheese. There is something about making cheese that is at the core of human nature, and people are becoming more aware of this. This event gave us the opportunity to share this, it’s been extraordinary.”
Brendan O’Mahamy, Cheese Merchant – Corleggy Cheese, Ireland
“This is my fourth time to Cheese and it has been very inspiring for me. Coming to this event has broadened my horizons and modeled many of the cheeses I have chosen to make. I enjoy making many different styles, and pioneering a new approach in Australia.”
Kris Lloyd, Artisanal Cheesemaker – Woodside Cheeses, Australia
‘Out of curiosity, we decided to count the visitors to our stall a couple of times. On Friday 180 people tasted our cheese in a 20-minute period, on Saturday 190 people tasted it in 10 minutes and on Sunday we didn’t even have time to count! This is our third time at Cheese, and while we can’t sell our cheese due to legal restrictions, it is great for promotion and we have also met many visitors from Bosnia Herzegovina.”
Svitetlana Sakic, Cheese in a Sack Presidia Coordinator, Bosnia Herzegovina.
“This is our first time at Cheese. Our work is concerned with Fair trade and we are especially keen on promoting local markets. That is why we are here – to see how some of the Slow Food ideas that we support are promoted in practice. We don’t actually know much about cheese, but we love it and we’re having great fun as we learn about it!”
Visitors from Edinburgh, Scotland
“Many people are familiar with the cheese produced by Gouda Presidia producers now and come back specifically to buy from us. One visitor who first met us in 2003 was able to taste three-year-old Gouda for the first time this year. He was also able to meet one of the Gouda producers and it has been so wonderful and important for her to hear the visitors’ extremely enthusiastic compliments for this cheese.”
Marjolein Kooistra, Gouda Presidium Coordinator, The Netherlands.
“It has been wonderful to see so many beautiful breeds here at Cheese. This is very important to me, as I want to know what I eat – in addition to meeting producers it is wonderful to get to know the characteristics of breeds from around the world. Here we not only see a cheese, but we get to know an animal, a field, and a landscape.”
Yuri Stolpovskiy, Slow Food Moscow convivium leader
Researcher at the Institute of Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences
“Cheese is a very special event that reaches out to people who might not know a lot about food. It gives them the chance to open their eyes and experience and appreciate cheeses they never would have discovered otherwise.”
Davide Gallizio, photographer, Bra Italy
Cheese has been great. As young producer (19 years-old), it has been fantastic to meet so many producers and interested customers, as well as being able to taste some very interesting cheeses. I am so proud to be able to be here representing producers who are making the first unpasturized blue cheese in the UK since the 1970s.
Isaac Howett, Artisanal Cheesemaker – Stichelton Dairy, England
This is a fantastic place and a fantastic opportunity for us, since cheese products are very important in the hospitality industry. It is a very tiring experience but we meet many people and we get a chance to taste lots of different cheeses from around the world, and learn how they are produced.
Students from Dronero Hospitality School in Italy (working in the Gran Sala)