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12th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
An introduction to sheep's milk cheese in an idyllic Piedmont setting

On our walking tour of the Piedmont area of northern Italy, our group and guide stopped in to visit Silvio, whose sheep farm sits above the village of Borgomale. He keeps 50 female sheep (queens) and two males, and makes raw sheep's milk cheese. Everything is done by hand, so he has to be very vigilant about sanitation and cleanliness. Each sheep gives 1-1.5 litres of milk per day, and the aging of the sheep's milk yields different tastes and textures of cheeses. While aging, the cheese have to be turned three times a day! After meeting the sheep and seeing the operational aspects, we had a whole lunch composed of cheeses aged at different times, starting with 6 hours; first we had each plain, then with different additions: salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar and a jam-like substance made of local nebbiolo grapes. On the side we had home grown salad greens, 2 local breads, and, of course, wine. After lunch, we sat out in the sunshine at this beautiful wooden table in the garden, under a glorious purple wisteria tree. Dessert, which you can see on the table, consisted of a delicious hazelnut cake made by one of Silvio's neighbors and white chocolate covered ground hazelnuts. The scene is set into my sense memory forever!

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 05.2013
Date Uploaded: 11.2014
Photo Location: near village of Borgomale, in northwestern Italy, Italy
Camera: Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS
Copyright: © Leslie Geffen