Life is hard: late October saw me traveling to Piemont in northern Italy. Think Barolo, Robiola, Nocciole… but hey, for you, my valued cheese friends, I’d do (almost) anything! One gloriously sunny day we were even up and down endless serpentines in the remoter parts of the region to get to the organic farm Amaltea.
Daniela and Giovanni, with the help of 130 beautiful goats, make exceptionally good Robiola di Roccaverano, including a very unusual version that is ripened in genepi ashes mixed with pepper… and thats what I brought back you, amongst other cheesy substances from the hills around Barolo, Barbaresco and Asti – I even hunted for the exceptional Montébore from Giarolo, but also brought back unbelievably good hazelnuts. I searched the Salone del Gusto for anything exciting (and transportable enough) to bring back for you. And as usual, cari amici in formaggio, you more than appreciated my efforts.
We didn’t have a Spumante, but started with a bubbly anyhow, courtesy of Suff and Grand C Crémant d’Alsace, to be followed by a great Fino sherry (a lovely surprise brought by Wernher – thank you!) and three Piemontese reds. First came the wild card, Öländsk Spiteost, a very nice lactic goat cheese from Swedish Hagelstad Gardsmejeri in Löttorp. Then: the flat, creamy Monvisina from Alpe Oregge, also from goat, followed by the unbelievable alpine concentration of Macagn, from Alpe Meggiana.
Followed, as promised, the glorious Montébore – read more about it here. You just loved and admired it, full stop. You also liked that quintessential Piemont character, the Testun al Barolo from Occelli, matured in grape skins (which the Italians call ubriaco, drunk). The quite mature and blue Castelmagno d’alpeggio from Des Martin in Valliera was less forthcoming, but equally full of character, and the 2009 Mompissano helped it a lot, amazingly. Finally, the Robiola aged in genepi ashes with pepper from Amaltea, very concentrated and strong, which made Gaby from Suff reach for a glass of sweet Riesling – yeees! – and Manuela from Kaeskuche grab a glass of Allgäu honey – more yeees. Grazie a tutti e a presto, cari amici!
HeinzelCheeseTalks take place regularly, usually on a Friday at 6pm at Markthalle Neun in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I bring some interesting cheese, open a few bottles of wine, and we sit around the large table opposite the Suff wine stall, tasting, drinking, talking, discussing (mostly in German – but we usually manage to cater to English speakers too). Invites are sent out about ten days before we meet, to a mailing list you can join here. Reservations need to be confirmed and are strictly by first come first serve – so be quick! And please do let me know if you can’t make it – there is always a waiting list. A donation of ten euros per person (or one or two euros more if you really had a lot of fun…) is much appreciated. Cheesio!