Cheese – the international event dedicated to milk in all its shapes and forms to be held in Bra (Italy) from Friday, September 18 to Monday, September 21, 2015 – will see the participation of hundreds of producers from Italy and abroad. The streets of the city center will house, among others, products from over 60 Slow Food Presidia: cheese, animal breeds, bread, cereals, honey and jam.
The Slow Food Presidia are projects that support quality productions at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. At Cheese, the Presidia products will be presented with the narrative label, a system for food labeling packed with information about producers, breeds, production techniques, places of origin and animal welfare.
Slow Food has been working for many years to support those remaining cheesemakers and herders who, with their passion and commitment, are resisting standardization and the homogenization of taste; Cheese offers an opportunity to celebrate and promote them.
At the Cheese Market visitors will be able to discover the extraordinary biodiversity of cheese production from around the world: from Africa and the Balkans via the Pyrenees to the Alps and the pastures of Northern Europe.
Click here for the complete list of Slow Food Presidia present at Cheese: http://cheese.slowfood.com/en/out-and-about/presidi-slow-food/
In many countries the European regulatory framework on food hygiene and food safety is a stumbling block for small food producers who play an important role in sustainable development and nature conservation in rural areas. In many Anglo-Saxon countries, hygienic food safety regulations for raw-milk cheese are disastrous for small-scale producers, taste, traditions and biodiversity preservation.
The United Kingdom and Ireland will be represented by the Artisan Somerset Cheddar Presidium and the Irish Raw Milk Cheeses Presidium, which is made up of ten artisan dairies that work in their own distinctive styles with diverse techniques, but share a common commitment to producing a safe, high-quality product using raw milk.
From the Netherlands, Aged artisanal Gouda made by three farmers with their Fresian-Holstein cattle and then stored for two or three years on wooden shelves.
From Belgium, there will be the last two producers of Raw-milk Herve, a soft, rind-washed cheese today threatened by the stringent hygiene requirements imposed by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC).
In Northern Europe, Presidia are often established to protect breeds that have adapted well to cold climates and harsh environments. From Norway, we’ll have the pleasure of Sognefjord artisan Geitost, a caramelized brown cheese. The Presidium is the symbol of the struggle of Norwegian cheesemakers against laws that favor industrial dairy production.
A newcomer for this year is the Skyr Presidium from Iceland, a fresh acid-curd cheese made from skimmed milk, established to preserve and promote the traditional recipe of skyr. The Presidium supports small-scale producers and local breeders to create an alternative and sustainable economy that will be able to give value to their products.
The French Basque Country will be represented by four of their traditional products: Cheeses from the mountains of Irati where the practice of transhumance is still resisting, the High pasture cheeses from the three valleys of Béarn on the French side of the Western Pyrenees, the Ancient varieties of Itxassou cherries, and the apples used to make the Sagarno cider, a symbol of Basque culture and biodiversity.
In total, at Cheese there will be 27 Italian Presidia which will include a wide variety of cheeses from Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, Lazio, Basilicata, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Calabria, Puglia, Campania, Sicily and Sardinia.
Balkans and Eastern Europe
Traditional raw-milk dairy practices are seriously threatened in countries that have recently joined the EU, where competent authorities at national and local level do not recognize the lack of flexibility provided in the current European regulatory framework on food hygiene and food safety, imposing strict requirements to local food producers.
From Bulgaria the Karakachan Sheep Presidium will be present. This is a sheep breed on the verge of extinction – there are approximately just 400 remaining today. We’ll also be joined by Tcherni Vit green cheese which is one of the very few cheeses in the world with natural blue marbling, something that Slow Food seeks to preserve aided by the work of the five producers of the Presidium.
From Romania there will be Branza de Burduf, made on the slopes of the Bucegi mountains, some of the highest peaks in the Carpathians.
From Poland, we’ll be welcoming Oscypek, a cheese from the Tatra mountains, home to the Batza, an ancient shepherding community.
In Africa, the dairy production scene is challenging and differs from the situation in Europe. Climate change is causing serious problems for herders, the custom of milking goats is being lost and food-safety issues are representing a crucial problem.
At Cheese there will be a special stand dedicated to displaying Africa’s biodiversity. Here you will find camel milk soap handmade by the Karrayu herders in Ethiopia and you will be able to meet other Slow Food Presidia and food communities from Kenya, South Africa, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe. The Karrayu herders will not be able to offer tastings of fresh camel milk for logistical reasons.
The Pokot, an ethnic group of herders native to Western Kenya, will offer some tastings of their traditional Ash yogurt, a Slow Food Presidium. To make this yogurt, milk it is poured into long, narrow gourds, left to rest for at least three days and then mixed with ash from the wood of a local tree, the cromwo, known for its antiseptic properties.
From South Africa, there will be some producers from the South African Raw Milk Cheeses Presidium. Cheese 2015 will be an opportunity for these producers to inform international consumers about the benefits of cheese made from unpasteurized milk and the importance of South African artisanal cheesemaking.
Visitors will be also able to discover Matured goat cheese from the Planalto de Bolona (Cape Verde). The methods used to raise animals and make cheese in this mountainous, dry and almost uninhabited area are examples of an impressive capacity to adapt to difficult environmental conditions.
Last but not least, a section of the stand will be dedicated to the São Tomé and Príncipe Robusta Coffee Presidium, which involves 12 families from São Nicolau (the poorest part of the island) and eight communities of producers in the southeast, for a total of 150 producers.
To apply for accreditation for Cheese, please visit the following website:
Cheese 2015 has been made possible by the support of companies who believe in the future of the quality dairy sector, including the Official Partners: Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano, Lurisia, Pastificio Di Martino and Radeberger Gruppe Italia.
Cheese, the international biennial event organized by the Città di Bra and Slow Food, will be held in Bra (Italy) from Friday, September 18 to Monday, September 21, 2015. Dedicated to milk in all its shapes and forms, the event has led to the formation of an international network of cheesemakers and dairy artisans and is currently in its tenth edition.
For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:
Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285, [email protected]
Slow Food involves millions of people who follow the philosophy of good, clean and fair food. The network is made up of enthusiasts, chefs, experts, young people, food producers, fishers and academics in over 150 countries. It includes 100,000 Slow Food members worldwide, who belong to 1,500 local chapters. Their membership fee helps to fund the association, and they participate in many locally organized events. The network also includes the 2,000 Terra Madre food communities, who are committed to sustainable, small-scale food production.
Slow Food Presidia are projects that support quality production at risk of extinction; protect unique regions and ecosystems; recover traditional processing methods; and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. Each project involves a community of small-scale producers and provides technical assistance to improve production quality, identify new market outlets and organize exchanges with producers internationally through the large Slow Food events.