A cornucopia of good and tempting raw materials and products wherever we turn. Even the most lousy little supermarket has a deli-counter as mouth-watering, and should get some delis in Oslo to be ashamed. All right - that means of course that we can not click every time we see a ham. When would this year become far.
But confronted with the passion that drives the craftsmen who make all these specialties we are humble and almost a bit shy. Passion for food is currently the trend, but there is nothing trendy over the cheese producer Vittorio Beltrami which housed Cartoceto, a small town quite far north in the region of Le Marche, just west of Fano. His passion for cheese is so heartfelt that we almost did not escape from there!
Everywhere in this region (and the country for that matter) milking animals in Norway hardly exist, at least not for the sake of milk. Ku; yes, goat; ok, but also sheep and buffalo. And this can be made the worlds. As with wine, there is much that happens in aging and storage. Vittorio and daughter Cristiana makes both fresh and extremely aged cheese. The fresh small, delicate cheeses of goat and sheep milk carefully decorated with flowers and herbs. Well so much for aesthetic reasons, as the pure taste considerations, we are told.
Sauemelksost with mold - and a little flower
Fresh gjeitemelksost - decorated and flavored with fennel
But when it comes to the stored Pecorino - it is no longer the visual counts, then it only taste that is the focus! That Pecorino is a sauemelksost (Pecora means sheep) are in no way the reason why these cheeses have both odor and sharp taste - to say the least. It comes out of storage. For specialty Vittorio is "Pecorino stagionato in fossa." It will say "matured in the cave." Literally - often in one twenty months time ... It kind of gets the aroma, and flavor, not the least!
A small selection of cheeses in the disk
Storage in soil and limestone caves of both cheese and various cured meats are quite common across the country, as it is in itself not what fascinates us when we sit on the balcony of the family Beltrami one morning and eat cheese and oil and homemade Crescia di Pasqua, a bread flavored with even more cheese, baked now before Easter. What fascinates is Vittorio, who really do not want to interfere, but that still comes over, again and again, to chat, to talk about the cheese we taste at that moment. Cristiana asks him to let us matro, which he rejects the contrary, and it is basically full fine for us ...
Pecorino stored in grape must
Pecorino wrapped in kastanjeblader
Pecorino stored in 20 months
This store food in the caves began with to hide valuable raw materials from marauding bandits (and probably also because it was cool and dark). The process has thus functioned practically hundreds of years, and even in modern times as Vittorio Beltrami himself (he claims) hid both food and other things of value in networks of caves in the hillsides at the small town Cartoceto during World War II to prevent the cheese would be eaten by the invaders.
He was a teacher before turning to cheese production, and we can make. He is knowledgeable and interested, Long reports on the story. Both ancient history, and the somewhat closer in time, as his own experiences during the war, until the analysis of the political situation and the crisis in today's Italy, the euro debt and unemployment.
Vittorio and Cristiana Beltrami
There are certainly numerous cheese makers that are at least as capable as Vittorio Beltrami. But the passion for their product, we guess there are few who can compare with him! If you were somewhat interested you can always take a look at www.gastronomiabeltrami.com
The geology of the area is characterised by natural tufa tunnels and caves. These cavities, locally called the "fosse", literally meaning "pits", located under many houses and courtyards, are where the famous formaggio di fossa or 'pit cheese' is buried to mature. The cheese is a type of local caciotta (pecorino) which is lowered into a tufa pit; after several months of maturing under exclusion of oxygen it gets removed from the pit, having aquired a strong aroma and taste.
In the old cavities, locally called “fosse”, literally meaning “pits” located in the tufa ground, the cheese remains to mature from August to November; by a particular fermentation process it is transformed into the so-called pit cheese.
Foto: The cheese, covered with straw and canes and enclosed in white linen bags, ferments in tufa pits.
Charakteristisch für den lokalen geologischen Aufbau sind auf natürliche Weise im Tuffstein entstandene unterirdische Gänge und Höhlen. Diese Hohlräume, die in der Gegend als „fosse“ bezeichnet werden, was wörtlich übersetzt „Gruben“ bedeutet, befinden sich häufig unterhalb alter Häuser und Innenhöfe. In solchen Gruben wird der berühmte Formaggio di Fossa („Grubenkäse“) zum Reifen gelagert. Der lokaltypische Käselaib (Schafkäse), die „caciotta“, wird in die Grube hinuntergelassen und erst nach einem monatelangem Reifungsprozess unter Luftabschluss wieder herausgeholt; der Käse hat dann einen sehr intensiven Duft und Geschmack angenommen.
In den natürlichen Hohlräumen im Tuffstein, örtlich als “fossa” bezeichnet (bedeutet wörtlich „Grube“), reift der Käse von August bis November; ein spezieller Gärprozess verwandelt ihn in den berühmten „Grubenkäse“.
Foto: Der Käse, in Leinensäcken verpackt, wird zum Reifen in die mit Stroh und Schilf ausgelegte Tuffstein-Grube eingelassen.