Cheese unfolds around the streets of Bra’s historic center, and the open-air stalls, food kiosks, live entertainment and opportunities for tasting and buying make it the perfect destination for a mid-September weekend.
Great Hall of Cheese under the porticoes along Via Garibaldi
Entering the beautiful space of the Great Hall means embarking on a journey around the world’s dairy specialties, discovering and tasting rare and unfamiliar cheeses, including many Slow Food Presidia. Out of the 150 international cheeses, 100 come from France, the star of Cheese 2011. After putting together your tasting plate from the selection on offer in the Great Hall, choose one of the Enoteca’s 700 wines to accompany your cheeses. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help from the trained staff, members of FISAR, the Italian federation of sommeliers, hoteliers and restaurateurs. Many of the Italian wines feature in Slow Food’s Slow Wine guide, and they all come from wineries that belong to Progetto Vino. Together with Slow Food, they are taking a new approach to promoting Italian wine production. The Italian labels will be joined by a wide selection of wines from different French regions.
Street Food and the Beer Piazza in Piazza XX Settembre
Eat your way around Italy with street food from regional gastronomic tradition. Cheese-filled Recco focaccia from Liguria, stuffed olives from the Marche and bombette (grilled pork and cheese skewers) from Puglia are just some of the options on offer, and all pair perfectly with beers from the sixteen breweries of the Beer Piazza, selected by Slow Food’s beer guide.
Literary and Music Café on Via Mendicità Istruita
For Cheese, the courtyard of the Slow Food publishing company is transformed into an open-air salon. Here, visitors can take a break from the hubbub of the main event, leaf through the newspapers, read a book, meet Slow Food Editore authors and sample Slow Food Presidia, while listening to live acoustic music.
Slow Food Presidia in Via Principi di Piemonte, Via Marconi and Piazza Valfré di Bonzo
The 50-odd Presidia cheeses, from 14 different countries, can be found on display along Via Principi di Piemonte and Via Marconi up to Piazza Valfré di Bonzo, once the town’s poultry market. New international Presidia making their first appearance at Cheese 2011 include Bregaglia Valley Mascarplin and Sbrinz d’Alpe from Switzerland; Mavrovo-Reka Mountain Pasture Cheeses from Macedonia; and Traditional Salers from France. Presidia from Italy include Orobiche Valleys Traditional Stracchino from Lombardy and Modicana Cow Caciocavallo from Sicily. In Piazza Valfrè di Bonzo, producers from the Heritage Bitto Slow Food Presidium will be presenting their mountain cheeses and welcoming visitors with tastings of Bitto and polenta. Other small-scale producers hosted by Cheese can be found nearby in the Piazza della Resistenza Casearia, the “Cheese Resistance Piazza,” where visitors can meet herders and cheesemakers and sample otherwise impossible-to-find cheeses.
Cheese Market in Piazza Roma and Piazza Carlo Alberto
Covering 3,000 square meters in two of Bra’s main squares, the market will bring together hundreds of cheesemakers who choose to use raw milk and herders who are protecting rural traditions. The Cheese Market has become an essential point of reference for cheese enthusiasts and professionals in the dairy sector.
Via degli Affinatori in Piazza Roma
Affineurs are much more than just sellers of cheese. They buy fresh cheeses directly from producers, then tend them carefully as they age, bringing them to their full potential. Here you’ll find the best of international cheeses from affineurs who belong to a network that formed spontaneously at previous editions of Cheese. Every two years they meet in Bra, bringing with them hundreds of different products for visitors to sample and buy, filling the streets with the unmistakable fragrance of well-aged cheeses.
Tasting Booths and the Pizza Piazza in the Scuole Maschili courtyard between Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Marconi
At the Tasting Booths, visitors can take a seat and enjoy the best of Italian regional cuisines. Traditional cheese-based recipes will be served in full menus or tasting plates. Each booth will also host workshops, meetings, presentations and practical demonstrations throughout the event.
Meanwhile in the Pizza Piazza, visitors can try authentic Neapolitan-style pizza made with San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella from Campania, cooked in a wood-burning oven. Alongside the classic Margherita and the buffalo mozzarella version will be pizzas topped with Slow Food Presidia. The area is sponsored by Molino Quaglia and Pedavena, whose beers will be on offer to accompany the authentic pizzas.
Next to this celebration of Naples’s most famous food, Slow Food Campania will be organizing the sale of a collection of ceramic plates dedicated to Cheese 2011. Designed by Salvatore Cozzolino, president of the Architetti Designer Italiani association, in collaboration with Fabbrica delle Arti and Massimo Di Porzio, president of the Vera Pizza Napoletana association, the plates have been produced by Cotto Rufoli, an artisanal company producing handmade tiles and ceramics. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Thousand Gardens in Africa project, which involves creating a thousand food gardens in African schools, villages and cities.