“Cheese”, Barolo, La Morra and More “Cheese” – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
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“Cheese”, Barolo, La Morra and More “Cheese”

The Lady and an Italian Turophile

Day 3 was a busy day at “Cheese”. Again, I worked the American booth selling and sampling two of Oregon’s great blues: Rogue River and Caveman Blue. We had several young translators from the local Gastronomical University helping us and they are amazing: energetic and indefatigable.  Without them, we would have been lost. I am quickly learning a few (very few) Italian words but find that the Italian people are very welcoming to us Americanos and forgiving that we don’t know their language.

As you know, I am a guest of the American companies sponsoring our booth: American Foods International, Kroger and Murray’s Cheese. They have paid all my expenses to enjoy the best week (to date) of my cheese life. I can never thank them enough for this experience. But there are three cheesemongers in our booth from the US who paid their own ways to come and experience “Cheese” and volunteer their services in the American booth: Michael Anzivino and Jennifer Wickham, who both work for Whole Foods in a store in Massachusetts and Sara Sara Anducci who is a monger at Secco Wine Bar in Richmond, Virginia. It has been a great pleasure meeting and working with them. A shout out to them is deserved and to their bosses to let them know what great employees they have… I suspect they already know…

After a long day in the “Cheese” Mines of Bra, we returned to the hotel and treated ourselves to a glass of wine in the lobby lounge. Little-by-little the Cheese Swells congregated and we have a final evening of great conversation… that got better as the wine flowed. Mary Quicke joined us and we got to hear stories of her cheesemaking in England… what an honor to meet and lift a glass with her… one of the great English cheddars comes from her farm.

It was a whirlwind day at “Cheese”: exhilarating and hard-working but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything… pardon me while I gush…

My “Cheese” partner in crime has been  the Divisional Cheese Specialist for Kroger in Cincinnati, Mark. We have enjoyed this adventure together and he has made the trip all that more enjoyable. Great cheese knowledge with a sense of humor that makes these perfect days more perfect. I will miss him when we return to our own Cheese Mines…

Day 4 in Italy began lazily with a trip to Barolo, the home of some of the world’s greatest wines. We toured the winery in the heart of the town of Marchesi di Barolo and then treated to a tasting of three reds and one white. After the tour, we walked the streets of the ancient city and found a local salumi maker who treated us to a sausage he makes from the local wild boar in the region. Then we were off to a leisurely (think: 3 hour) lunch at the top of the hill in the town of La Morra.

We returned to Bra and chatted with lots of Cheese Swells at a cocktail party and then ended the evening with a final walk of “Cheese”. With one more day to go, many cheesemakers had sold all their cheese and had little to offer.  With tired feet I walked back to the hotel alone without a map and made it safe and sound. Bra is a beautiful city; clean with friendly locals who enjoy a life in the middle of a place where Slow Food became a part of their fabric. Once I was back at the hotel, I didn’t stop in the lobby… I fell into bed and dreamed of Parmigiano-Reggiano and the prosciutto pigs of Parma… where we head to day… Arrivederci Bra and “Cheese”… goodbye until we meet again…

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