Cheese Travels with Jim Wallace

A journal of travels to explore the old ways, history, and process. Visits with the cheese makers and photographs of the surrounding beauty. Jim teaches traditional cheesemaking in the US and can be contacted via ...

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Western Massachusetts USA, United States
I have been visiting cheese makers throughout Europe for many years now, researching the old ways of traditional cheese making . I currently teach several workshops on traditional cheese making in the US and can be contacted at ... ____ In my recent past I have traveled the wild places of this planet making photographs and fine prints. The blend of my cheese travels and making photographs combines the best of both worlds.

September 17, 2009

Sept 10-12 Bolzano and the Dolomites

Sept 10
Another long drive from Valtellina to Bolzano with a brief stop in Sondrio for cheese. From Sondrio to Bolzano was just a lot of up and down twisty turny roads. The "eye opener" was dropping down into the valley of fruit and especially the wine grapes that run from Bolzano to Trento. Pay attention folks because if we are lucky we will see some of these wines in the US in the future.

Our hotel was tucked somewhere up in the hills north of Bolzano and our map showed quite a convoluted path to find it, but a simple phone call to our host made it sound quite simple so we left the Autostrada with a few notes in hand and eventually after a rather long ascent found one of the most friendly hotels and one of the most magnificent views of the dolomites. Another long day and a much needed rest to follow it.

Sept 11 Fri
Our goal today is to find a small church settled into a large alpine pasture with the Dolomites rising above. This is a church I have seen in pictures over the years and has drawn me to this area. We headed north again and down into the valley, only to cross the river and rise up into the mountains again. Our rough reckoning leaving some doubt in finding the church, but persistence paid off and we find it where it has always been for centuries. This is one of the most beautiful settings and churches I have ever visited.

Sept 12 Sat

Today we travel through Val Gardena to Passo Gardena. This is a beautiful Alpine pasture where much cheese was made in the past but it is much easier for the young people today to make their living from the skiing and climbing tourists than from cheesemaking. The older alpine farm (Malghe) buildings are still present but only reminders of the past.

During lunch in the mountains Robin has decided to let our trusted companions Al and Lucy out of the car for a bit to romp in the mountains a bit. They have been with us for many years now but this is their first visit to the Alps

This is surely a worthwhile visit but the extensive build-up of vacation homes, hotels and traffic in the valley make us more than ready to return to our quiet hotel above Bolzano.

Tonight at the hotel we are the only guests and Nino the chef has prepared a special meal and when we comment on the fabulous funghi, he brings an entire jar out for us packed in oil. Porcini that he has collected from the local woods. Tomorrow we pack and head south to Valsugana.

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