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Bra Celebrates Cheese in 2017

For four days in September, the streets and piazzas of the historic Italian city of Bra will be dedicated to an appreciation of cheese and other dairy products. The event, called Cheese, is a biennial celebration organized by the city of Bra and Slow Food International, and this year will be its 20th anniversary, and the event will be spread over two different venues: Bra and Pollenzo.

The Italian and International Market

To celebrate 20 years since the first-ever Cheese, Slow Food and the City of Bra have this year decided to keep the Market’s exhibition spaces exclusively for raw-milk cheeses—authentic expressions of their place of origin, the livestock breed that produced the milk, the animals’ diet and the cheesemaker’s skill. This decision has not only raised the quality level of the products available for sale, but also inspired enthusiasm and curiosity around the world. The 2017 edition has seen an increase in international exhibitors (with the biggest rise seen in participants from Spain) and the organizers had to close the applications early.

Free Space

Slow Food sees the triumph of commercially selected starter cultures as the triumph of standardization. If the processing technique is the same, it no longer matters where the milk comes from, nor if the same cheese is made in Italy, Wales, New Zealand or Vermont: the connection to a specific place has gone, because the specific microflora of that area and that dairy have been ousted, wiped out by lab-selected microbial superflora.

The Slow Food network at Cheese 2017 wants to get to the bottom of the subject of starter cultures, discovering alternatives that respect biodiversity and do not standardize taste, and launching a real revolution that can revitalize the natural cheese movement.

The Free Space is the most important innovation at this Cheese: A whole area dedicated to raw-milk cheese free from industrial starter cultures, natural wines free from selected yeasts, cured meats free from nitrates, nitrites and other additives, sourdough bread and pizza and spontaneously fermented Lambic beer.

Slow Food Presidia

The projects that Slow Food uses to protect traditional techniques, native breeds, artisanal foods and rural landscapes will be represented at Cheese 2017 by over 50 cheeses from across Italy and further afield. From Belgium, raw-milk Herve, a historic, soft, washed-rind cheese will be represented. This cheese is now under threat from strict hygiene requirements imposed by AFSCA, the Belgian local health authority. From Cape Verde will come raw-milk goat cheeses from the Planalto Norte, a mountainous, arid and sparsely inhabited area where a small group of herders are clinging on, playing a crucial role in safeguarding the local area. The Presidium for Irish raw-milk cheeses will be representing Ireland with cheeses from 10 artisanal dairies that work with different styles and techniques, but with the shared objective of producing high-quality cheeses from unpasteurized milk.

The selection from Italy includes Farindola pecorino from Abruzzo, uniquely in Italy (and perhaps the world) made using pig’s rennet, which gives the cheese a distinctive fragrance and flavor; Monte Poro pecorino from Calabria, where sheep have long been reared in wild conditions; Çuç di Mont from Friuli Venezia Giulia, made from the summer milk of cows who graze in mountain pastures, their diet supplemented only by local hay or cereals; Raw-milk pecorino from the Maremma in Tuscany, which can be produced in various forms and ages ranging from 20 days to 180 and beyond for the aged and reserve versions. These cheeses are made without the use of commercial starter cultures or any treatment for the rind; and the presidium for mountain Trentingrana, established to promote the careful work of two dairies who produce milk in the mountains then process it pure to obtain a different product from the traditional grana made in Trentino.

The United Kingdom will be represented by artisanal Somerset Cheddar and raw-milk Stichelton, a presidium established around the only cheesemaker still making a version of the historic blue cow’s milk cheese Stilton from raw milk. From Norway will come artisanal geitost from the Sognefjord, a brown cheese with a unique caramelized flavor, and the Netherlands will be represented by aged artisanal Gouda and the recently launched presidium for traditional Boeren Leyden, one of the country’s oldest cheeses, now made on only a handful of farms that still graze their cows on the polders and are preserving a historic cheese at risk of extinction.

From Romania will come Branza de Burduf, made on the slopes of the Bucegi Mountains, some of the highest in the Carpathians. Poland will be represented by Oscypek from the Tatra Mountains, home to the sheep-herding Batza people, and Switzerland will be represented by the Presidia Emmentaler and Sbrinz.

Selezionatori and Affineur Avenue

Running along the Piazza Roma gardens, this street will be hosting affineurs and cheesemongers from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.

The Great Hall of Cheese and the Enoteca

Here you can taste cheeses from the Italian presidia and hundreds of other specialties from around the world, including France, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The United States, the guest country this year, will be represented by 15 different types of cheese. Head to the Enoteca for the perfect pairing for your tasting, chosen from 600 wines selected by Pollenzo’s Wine Bank.

At the Pizza Square you’ll find five master pizzaioli taking turns in front of the oven, while at the Beer Square, 36 independent craft breweries will be pouring their brews. The Gelato Square has been organized by the Compagnia dei Gelatieri, while 15 street food stands and food trucks also offer more eating opportunities.

There will also be conferences, with a packed program featuring big-name speakers from Italy and abroad, the Biodiversity House with its special events and the activities organized by the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Cheese 2017 will be held September 15 to 18, 2017, in Bra, Piedmont, Italy.

Goat Lady Dairy Sold to Staff Cheesemakers

Steve and Lee Tate, co-founders of Goat Lady Dairy, have sold the dairy to long time employees Carrie Routh Bradds and Bobby Bradds.

“We are so pleased that Carrie and Bobby and their farm family will continue and expand what we started,” said Steve.

“Sadly, we have lost many family farms in North Carolina,” said Andrew Santulli, GLD’s business coach from the Small Business Technology and Business Center (SBTDC). “Through cheese making, the Tates have added value to their farm and three local partner farms supplying their milk. Because of their farmland preservation and careful succession planning, the good work of Goat Lady Dairy will continue.”

In 1984 Steve’s sister Ginnie Tate and her two pet Nubian goats moved to a 200-year-old 40 acre abandoned North Carolina tobacco farm. Thinking her a bit odd, the neighbors nicknamed her “the Goat Lady.” The two goats became 20, extra milk turned into cheese, and the hobby farm grew. In 1995 Ginnie’s brother Steve, his wife Lee and their sons joined her to start one of the first licensed goat cheese dairies in North Carolina.

Early on the Routh/Bradds family helped out at the dairy. (The first Routh brothers started farming in the neighborhood in 1740!) In 1995 Tommy, Carrie’s father and Bobby, her husband built the multipurpose dairy barn that includes the goat barn, creamery, dining room and kitchen. Carrie started helping in the cheese room and learned the craft. Eventually, Carrie became the first full-time staff person and then Production Manager. Later Bobby joined Carrie and became a Lead Cheesemaker.

After Ginnie’s death in 2009, Steve and Lee started working with business coaches from the Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC) on a succession plan. A creamery expansion in 2013 quadrupled capacity. Since then production has more than doubled.

Today, four local family farms work together to produce GLD’s goat and cow milk and national award-winning cheese. Goat Lady Dairy is one of the oldest and largest artisan cheese dairies in the South, distributing cheeses throughout the East Coast and beyond. The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the Piedmont Land Conservancy, the Conservation Trust of North Carolina, the Good Food Awards and the USDA have recognized the farmland preservation, energy conservation, and sustainable farming practices of GLD.

Ice Cream Museum to Open in San Francisco

Museum of Ice Cream is planning to open in San Francisco. The San Francisco location will be the third Museum of Ice Cream, following two others in Los Angeles and New York City. Museum of Ice Cream opens its doors this September at the historic 1 Grant Avenue in the heart of the city.

Museum of Ice Cream features 10 thematically tailored, immersive installations produced entirely by its in-house design team. Interactive elements include a magical candy garden, psychedelic rainbow unicorns, a push pop installation, a cherry on top sky, the renowned Sprinkle Pool and new tastings, including an original Museum of Ice Cream flavor.

Driven by the wondrous joy ice cream evokes, Museum of Ice Cream San Francisco continues to bring people together through art, design, and innovation. Founder and Creative Director Maryellis Bunn was drawn to the challenge of creating and designing the next Museum of Ice Cream in a historical building with stunning architectural highlights. Located in an old bank near San Francisco’s Union Square, Museum of Ice Cream’s modern design and signature playfulness stands in stark contrast with the 108-year-old historic landmark. With several modern installations built around (decades-old) structures that have been hidden from public view, Museum of Ice Cream truly enhances the building’s unique character at every turn. Underneath Museum of Ice Cream’s 45-foot dome ceilings is the famous Sprinkle Pool – filled with over 100 million custom designed sprinkles.

Curating the best of California ice cream, visitors will indulge in one “scoop of the week,” from a rotating cast of creameries, including Bi-Rite, It’s It, Salt & Straw and CREAM. Visitors enjoy an exclusive mochi ice cream tasting experience by California-based My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream, an out-of-this world Pop Rocks® Cave, and a never-been-tasted, custom, Museum of Ice Cream flavor. The museum concludes with a Design Within Reach lounge and a new shop experience, unveiling art objects and merchandise available exclusively inside.

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