Goats milk is a wonderful product: easy to digest, with plenty of calcium, less allergenic proteins compared to cows milk and it is also lower in lactose. So if you find cows milk hard to digest you should give goats milk a go.
Recently I went on a trip with my best buddy Luigino, the dairy man whom I have featured several times on this blog. He is the one who always takes me around to visit places around the region of Friuli to discover various artisans and small producers. He took me to his dairy before to learn how to make cheese in a small Italian dairy.
The story I am going to tell you today is about a young lady called Alessia.
Luigino met Alessia several years ago. She was one of his students of his dairy classes and who later went on to create her own artisan goats and dairy farm. By artisan I mean that everything is done by hand, the traditional way.
Alessia set up her own goats farm in her beloved mountains of Friuli where she grew up as a child. She bought 35 hectares of land and left some of it for pasture, some as meadow to make hay and some woods.
Alessia is a busy lady indeed.
Her day starts at 6am when she milks the goats. She keeps about 100 goats. They all seem to know exactly what to do: as soon as the gate opens they all promptly walk towards the miking station ready to be milked.. there is a catch though: they perfectly know that they will get fed there as well.
Alessia loves her goats. It was always her dream to have her own dairy so even if this job can be exhausting sometimes (as she never stops!) she loves every minute of it.
After milking the goats leave the stable and go up the moutains in the meadows to feed off fresh grass until the evening when they go back to the stable.
The milk is left to rest then it is put in a metal container suitable for cheese making and brought to a temperature of 36C or 97F.
Then rennet is added. You will notice that the milk changes consistency and becomes thicker. The curd has formed and it is cut with a sharp metal object.
The milk coagulates and the curd separates from the water it contains.
The curd or “cheese” is then collected using a colander.
And left to drain of the excess water
The excess water is squeezed out
After salting it the cheese is left to mature for a minimum of 3 months (depending on the type of cheese you want).
Alessia also makes fresh cheese with herbs like thyme, rosemary, lavender and chilly pepper. An interesting one is soft cheese left to mature with vegetable charcoal. In this way the cheese can mature without the need for preservatives as the charcoal prevents the mold from spoiling it.
Alessia also produces yogurt, ricotta (the smoked ricotta is fantastic!) and gorgonzola cheese too.
Check out this little video about the farm which I made!
Many thanks to:
Azienda Agricola ZORE
Località Zore – Platischis 37
33040 TAIPANA (UDINE) – Italy