Slow Food returns to host the impressive festival dedicated to all things Cheese in Bra, Piedmont, Italy, which also celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, from 15 to 18 September.
If you needed any reasons to visit, other than a bountiful world class selection of cheese, experts, workshops and dinners in a prime location... here are just ten.
1. The Numbers
The bi-annual event racked up a record of 300 exhibitors from 23 nations and dozens of events across workshops, dinners and tastings in the 2015 edition. This year promises to offer no less. Pastors and refiners, chefs, beer masters, wine makers and more: meet them all in Bra.
2. Raw Milk
This year's theme is raw milk, ie unheated milk above 40 ° C. A hot topic for which Slow Food has always been at the front line, defending raw milk production, an expression of biodiversity and craftsmanship all over the world. This year's Market will only host raw milk cheeses.
3. Not Just Cheese
As always, Cheese will explore the 360 degreee world of gastronomic craftsmanship. Of particular interest this year will be the area dedicated to "natural", where salami without nitrites and nitrates can be found along with non-sulphite wines, spontaneously fermented beers and sourdough bread.
4. The United States
The host country of Cheese's 2017 edition is the US: in the United States, the sale of unpaired cheeses aged less than 60 days is illegal. Add to that the difficulty of communication between producers, and we get a difficult and unregulated dairy production. Find American cheeses in Affinatori Street and the Great Cheese Room. Also, not to miss is the conference on Saturday 16 at 10.30 Raw in The USA.
5. Beer on Tap
In addition to the area dedicated to artisan beers, with some Italy's best producers, beer is also the protagonist of the Taste Laboratories: barley wines and herb cheese, or The Queen of Natural Drinks: Lambic Traditional (both Saturday 16 to 13).
6. Regional Biodiversity
Via Principi and via Marconi are the route of the Presidia Slow Food, where of course you can meet some of the most famous Italian cheeses. Caciofiore from the Roman countryside, Montebòre Piemontese, Caciocavallo podolico del Gargano ...
6. Discover the Balkans
Slow Food always puts the spotlight on products and producers in the Balkans. If you are interested do not miss Balcani: pastures and cheeses between East and West (September 16 to 19) a focus on pastoral tradition and transhumance. On the way to the Presidia you will find the Burzaf Branza of the Bugeci Mountains from Romania and the Green Cheese of Tcherni Vit from Bulgaria.
7. Who would like Mold?
We are looking forward to seeing 50 shades of grey: grey, green, blue, natural and edible on Saturday 17 at 16.30. And taste all the moldy specialities at the Market.
8. Feel the Love
A lab will be held on 16 and 19 September, dedicated to the dairy production of the territories affected by the earthquake in the centre of Italy last August. Tastings will include pecorino from the Sibillini Mountains, pecorino from Amatrice and Norcia and the salted ricotta of Valnerina. The event proceeds will go to producers and locals.
9. The "Gran Sala" of Cheese
This year, in the "Gran Sala dei Formaggi," you will find hundreds of specialities from all over the world to match one of over 600 Italian labels at the Enoteca, the place not to be missed by all wine enthusiasts.
10. The Main Chefs
Even this year, "Appuntamenti a Tavola" brings together some of the protagonists of the Italian and international dining scene, including Giuseppe Rambaldi (ex-chef of Combal.Zero) and Regis Marcon.