I came back late last night from my trip to Italy, this morning I was unpacking all the goodies I brought back. I love my split British-Italian life.
When I was younger I had no interest in Italy, all I wanted was to travel the world but now pushing 40 (oh yes… nearly there) the whole life picture seems to change. They say it always happens, whatever seems so vital in your youth it becomes no longer your priority. Other values slowly but surely replace the need of a fast and super busy life. Family becomes more and more important.
All my sisters and my parents live in Italy and I still have one precious grandmother aged 90 whom I long to see whenever I am over there. Time passes by and I don’t want to waste any minute of the time we can spend together.
October is the time of celebrations in my town. There is a big market and plenty of foodie stalls, food is everywhere and with plenty of choice. Some time ago I wrote about the art of making fresh Montasio cheese. This is held during the towns celebrations every year. Luigino, the dairyman, shows us how fresh cheese is made. Many people have never seen the process of cheese making nor have they ever been in a latteria (the “dairy”).
This year it was a pleasure to meet Mr Luigino and his daughter again.
I can never get bored of watching fresh cheese making and especially eating it afterwards!
The region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in North Eastern Italy offers a rich selection of fresh cheese and salami. The classic cheese is called “Latteria” (which translates to “dairy”). It is a fresh semi-hard cheese, very creamy and delicate. Montasio is also very similar and has now being exported all over the world. Can you find it where you are?
Luigino kindly invited me to visit his milking farm.
There were cows, ducks, hens, rabbits and a friendly pig which seemed to enjoy being fed chunks of bread! Also calves loved a cuddle too!
I was shown how cows are milked. The milking machine switches itself off when all the milk has been pumped out and goes straight into a chilled tank ready to be collected by the milk truck. Running a farm is hard work though and you can never take a day off! Cows need milking twice a day and they don’t care whether it is Christmas or Easter! I am not sure I could manage without a holiday every so often!
If there is no fresh grass cows are fed corn silage which is obtained from the shredding of the whole plant of Maize.
The maize is collected and transported to a silo–trench, distributed in horizontal layers, compressed by shovel or tractor and sealed with layers of plastic film. The absence of air allows it to ferment so it can last a long time and is used to feed the cows during the winter months.
Animals are also fed hay and a mixture of corn and other cereals which are cultivated at the farm.
I enjoyed the autumnal air at the farm and the visit was really interesting. You never stop learning and every time I realize there is so much more to learn! But that’s life, isn’t? 😉