Part of continuing the legacy and success of the Dicecca name is introducing cheese-obsessed tourists like us to the family’s work. Contact Vito on social media and you can join a tour of the caseificio (‘cheese factory’) before heading to legendary local bakery Di Gesù to pick up focaccia, over which Vito will theatrically split a burrata as Instagram boomerangs are perfected. He’s had visitors from all over the world drop in for the cheese experience.
He’s also planning to launch a more in-depth, all-inclusive food experience, where you can stay in a family house in the nearby Mercadanti forest (where he has also just opened a cheese bar – heavenly, right?) with Vito as your personal guide to the best of the food scene in this part of Puglia – octopus in Bari, his cheese, the near perfect local bread, those kinds of things. It’s also where his goats live. “I just bought 200, I love the milk,” he says. “I do a yogurt and a couple of cheeses like camembert and brie. I’ve become a fan of goats”.
Paolo and Vito in the lab
Whoever heard of a Puglian cheesemaker with a fondness for making goat’s milk French cheeses, or, as he claims, to be heavily influenced by classic blue cheeses of England like Stilton and Shropshire Blue? There is a desire in Vito to show the world that Puglia is so much more than just burrata, now surely one of the world’s favourite cheeses. But the burrata is superb: the stracciatella and cream falls out like lactic rain after a drought when Vito tears at it with his hands, while it tastes as fresh and of the terroir as any I’ve had.
“We can put everything inside the burrata,” he says, and they have, from mango to caviar, “but the simple burrata is still the best for my taste. The secret is fresh cream that you make yourself.”
There’s also a desire too to get back at the bullies who picked on him at school for his family’s craft. His classmates would make sheep noises at him he says, in the not quite formed reasoning of children.
Above all, there’s family: the opportunity to work with your siblings day in, day out to create something that can last for another four generations at least. “My father always wanted us together,” he says poignantly, “because love is the most important thing.”
It's love that you can taste in the cheeses of Caseificio Dicecca: love for family, home and of course, really, really good cheese.