“The flavors and perfumes of the cheeses change as you move from the edge of the form towards the centre”. Did you ever notice? Anna and Gian Franco Gasparini, well-known Italian designers, made this subtle observation when asked to create a cheese set cutlery by Alessi, the famous Italian design brand, in 2009.
This was the starting point of the La Via Lattea (The Milky Way) project that includes a knife for hard cheese, one for semi-hard cheese, one for soft cheese and one for semi-soft cheese, plus a fork for hard cheeses and a server for soft and semi-soft cheeses. Because, as they say: “In order to savor the entire variety of flavors that the cheese contains, you require proper blades for each type of crust hardness and for each texture of the cheese.”
The hand-made blades were realized in association with the Andrea Berti cutlery works in Scarperia, a small and charming 14th Century town in the province of Florence. Located in the Apennines, the Tuscan town from where the Acqua Panna Natural mineral water springs, holds a long tradition of cutlery and iron-working.
The project's soul is in the handcraft, each blade contains the initials of the craftsman who manufactured it, while the ergonomic handles are made of boxwood: an evergreen shrub that grows slowly and has deep roots. The set is complete with the Guide to cutting and tasting 35 Italian cheeses of Protected Designation of Origin and some European cheeses. “I’m particularly proud of this project”, the Alessi president Alberto Alessi explained: “A single man oversees the complete production cycle of the knife entrusted to him, from the forging of the blade to the details on the handle. We have worked hard and with enthusiasm, as have the designers, whose great labors have functioned as both a technical and cultural link”.