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 ...

About Me

My photo
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.

October 27, 2009

Sept 17-19 The Slow Foods
Cheese Festival in Bra Italy

Today we leave the beautiful sea. From Vernazza and the Cinque Terra we drive towards Genoa and on to  the wonderful city of Bra Italy 40 min south of Torino.

Before we left though Al and Lucy wanted their photo taken as they bask in the sun by the sea.

Bra is the home of Slow Foods, where we are spending the next 2 days at The Festival of Cheese. This is perhaps the largest cheese event in the world, showcasing not only Italian Cheese but cheese from all parts of the world.

We find our hotel easily (most rooms have been booked for months by now) and settle in. It is only a short distance into the town center but most restaurants and shops are closed in preparation for the weekends anticipated crowds. This is fine for us since we can head back to the hotel and catch up on emails and other business since we finally have a good online connection here.
Friday 18th:
The first day of Cheese '09. This is THE cheese festival for cheese lovers. This is organized by and in the hometown of "Slow Foods" and is perhaps one of the most extensive presentations of cheese in the world. This is not the primary venue for the larger cheese makers (that is held in Parma every 2 years)  but it represents the smaller scale cheese makers and the specific cheeses that slow foods is working to protect.

We are up and out early after a great breakfast at the hotel. It gives us a chance to see the cheese makers putting the finishing touches on their displays. Also it gets us to the Slow Foods office to pick up our reservation for workshops and our dinner on Sunday night.
Today is quite busy since we have booked 3 workshops in addition to connecting with some of our favorite cheese makers and finding new cheese contacts for our future visits.

Fridays first workshop was with Herve Mons from France who is one of the worlds finest affineurs (sources, ages, and sells cheese).
The topic was the cheese of the Auvergne and the role of raw milk. I had the highest hopes for this session since he was presenting a goat's milk cheese from Provence, a Traditional Salers from Auvergne and an Alpine Beaufort from Savoy. Unfortunately the fire alarm sounded and could not be shut off for the session and the class did not happen. I did manage to connect with Herve later since he knew of me through my friend Pierre Gay in Annecy, he was more than happy to help me with future plans in the Auvergne and any other contacts I need.

The next workshop was five italian affineurs: Giovanni Guffanti, Franco Parola, Gian Domenico Negro, Vittorio Beltrami, and Fiorenzo Giolito. The best of the best presenting the cheese they love best. Of course this was accompanied with their favorite wine. This turned into a passionate discussion on why it is so important to preserve these cheeses. Especially with Vittorio's exuberant and graphic point of view.

The final session was equally enlightening  with a tasting and comparison of 5 Alpine cheeses from northern Italy: Bagolino Bagòss, Bitto, aged Asiago, Monte Veronese, and Grappa Mountain Morlacco. It was amazing to see the taste comparison of these cheeses from similar pastures, similar process, but different regions and how they have evolved into such different cheeses over time.  Having visited many cheese makers in these regions it added a whole new level of understanding.

By 10 PM we  were both so exhausted we have no recollection of dinner or even if there was one. Anyhow we had enough cheese and wine to tide us over for the day.

 Sat 19th
Up early again, a good breakfast, and off to the festival. The second day of Cheese is rain but does not seem to dampen the crowds numbers or spirits. The festival is much more crowded this year. We begin working our way through the International cheese booths where several of the American Artisan cheeses are being presented as well as cheese from France, Italy, UK, Ireland, Switzerland etc. This is not a project to  be taken lightly.


  1. We're a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with useful info to work on. You've performed an impressive task and our whole community can be grateful to you.

    Take a look at my webpage; shauna plays in the front yard

  2. Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

    Here is my weblog; Http://Pornharvest.Com/Index.Php?M=2184635

  3. Excellent article. I'm going through a few of these issues as well..

    Feel free to visit my website;

  4. What's up, I desire to subscribe for this website to take most up-to-date updates, so where can i do it please help out.

    Feel free to visit my web page: Email Console

  5. Hello, after reading this amazing post i am as well delighted to share my experience here with friends.

    Feel free to surf to my blog ...

  6. This excellent website certainly has all of the information and facts
    I needed concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    Also visit my web blog click the up coming internet site -

  7. Thanks for every other fantastic article. The place else may anyone get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and I'm on the look for such information.

    Stop by my blog ...

  8. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished
    to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    Also visit my site: 1

  9. Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of
    the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is useful.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Also visit my blog post Porn Fetish Sex