Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here's to Cheese!

Trofie Wife’s lactose intolerance is well documented, but that hasn’t prevented me from enjoying the milky fruits of Italia, thanks to online pharmacies and an assist from some good friends with Lactaid connections! So armed to the hilt with my favorite digestive enzyme supplement, on a late September weekday I made my way to Bra in Piemonte to a Slow Food event called Cheese. Yes, just "Cheese"—like Madonna and Prince it needs no further nomenclature. Devoted readers might recall that Martello and I had an amazing time at last April’s Slow Fish event in Genova. Well Fish is merely the warm-up band for Cheese. Whereas Fish is confined to Genova’s convention center, Bra is literally sprinkled with Cheese, each of its cobblestoned streets beckoning to another table of samples expressed from cow, sheep, and goat. There’s a tent of international cheeses, local cheeses, specially Slow Food-endorsed Presidio cheeses, and other affiliated products.

Although I had my trusty pills, I was still overly cautious as to how much I sampled, which was a good thing, because the only facilities were Portapotties. I tried a delicious sedano (that would be celery) sorbetto, which would make an excellent appetizer or amuse buche. I lugged home cheese for Martello, honey (a favorite Trofie Wife purchase at all these fairs), honey wine (which has been since used in many an appreciative baked good), and some chocolate (not featured at Cheese but available in a well-stocked store that was getting great foodie foot traffic). It took me about an hour to consume a very small portion of the delicious beer that we first sampled in the Dolomiti, which I paired with an acciughe (anchovy) and verdure panino.

Nope, that's not a chocolate fountain. It's a balsamic vinegar one!

Small model for Cow Parade Roma

I can't decide whether or not this cow is racist... 

Set up in a corner of the Piemonte Region’s featured area were pens containing the real stars of the show—all those animals we have to thank for the milk that makes the cheese and gelato. They appeared quite somber being held in such small pens, a fact that seemingly ran counter to many of the organic, freerange principles held by Slow Food (though I understand that you can’t have the cattle roaming around near the wine tasting area). Here are some of my new friends (though none of them ever called...)

This one is fuzzy!

I really wanted to help this one break free.

Junior getting some of his own free samples. 

Brown cow.

I thought this one was going to charge. Maybe the flash was on?

It was a lovely day exploring more of Piemonte and the expansive bounty of Italian food. It's just too bad that it was senza Martello.

Baci e gelato,
Martello e Trofie