All posts tagged: cheese

Bye Bye, Bra

Both the Dean and the Spiritual President (definitely his official title) were out of town, so the guy on the right here (Michele Fino, a UNISG Food Law professor) made a joke about having to bring out the B team for the graduation. The guy on the left (Slow Food International Secretary General Paolo DiCroce) was not amused. I did it! I have a Master’s degree (in Food Culture and Communication with a focus in Representation, Meaning and Media) with a title almost as long as my undergraduate degree (International and Global Studies with focuses in Political Science, Latin America, and Spanish)! After wrapping up my internship commitments here in New York at Saveur and Food Tank, launching a personal website, starting a new stream of stories for Contemporary Food Lab, turning in my thesis (a blend of personal experience and theory), I embarked upon a much needed week (or two, let’s see) of resting priority-resetting (as well as immune system-resetting). This meant good, nourishing food (chestnut and pumpkin soup!), not waking up at 5:30 AM, spending leisurely afternoons and evening drinking …

An Event-Full Weekend

A panel at Taste Talks Brooklyn about staying current in the ever-changing landscape of food. The last few weeks have just zoomed by. How is it already Wednesday again? How am I just catching you up on three educational/inspirational events from two weekends ago just now? How is it fall already? Ok, enough with the existential questions. Slow Food NYC recently held a series of events with Canadian cheesemaker David Asher, known for tinkering around with molds in his home to get his bloomy rinds just right. I went to the opening night reception in a cave (that was once a 19th century brewery!) somewhere in Brooklyn that I had not yet ventured to before and learned about the history of kefir. How typical of me. Here’s Slow Food USA Executive Director Richard McCarthy introducing David. At first I wondered, “Who is this guy in a suit?!” Most people were wearing Birkenstocks. And then I realized it was him. Alrighty then. Anyways, back to fermentation. According to David, kefir grains originated somewhere in Central Asia. Apparently …

A Week in the Mountains

If you can’t quite read what it says on the back of Roberto’s onesie, it translates to “I love my bees.” Also, he doesn’t wear gloves. He estimates that he is stung 500 times per year. And just like that, my last study trip (or stage, as I like to call it when I’m feeling fancy) is in the books. At times in Calabria, Lazio and Spain, cruising around in a coach bus with my 24 classmates prompted mildly stressful memories of elementary school field trips. But in the case of Berlin and Valli Orobiche (a mountainous region near Bergamo and Milan), we traveled in mini packs of 8 people, which was just the right size to be able to ask questions and get the feel of each place. The trip began with a visit to the Carlsberg Brewery where we had a nice combination of brewing 101, booze and marketing know-how regarding the evolution of the branding of Birrificio Andrea Poretti. The brewery is sort of nestled on the side of a mountain and they …

June 2015: Part One

Ok obviously I did not take this photo, so don’t hurt me. Here is the caption that accompanied the piece (hold your horses, I will discuss below): “Centuries after the first wheel of Emmentaler rolled into the Alps, scientists are still learning about how Swiss cheese is made.” My caption would be: “Where is the missing fourth?!!” My staycation has come and gone and I made it through quite a long week with some new thoughts on the horizon regarding potential thesis topics. I’m thinking something regarding the millions and zillions of $$$ being dumped into funding food/drink startups (which I initially thought was oh-so-wonderful, but now I’m not so sure) and if we can really “hack” our way to a sustainable food system. Stay tuned. I’ve also been reading quite a bit (as usual). I am telling myself now, at noon on this well-caffeinated Saturday, that every Saturday I will do a roundup of what I’ve been swiping through on my iPad that week, just so you, out there in the internet void, can potentially bookmark …

Go for the Goat

The scene of the crime: Azienda Agricola Monte Jugo in Viterbo, Lazio, Italy. Pietro, our fearless tutor (not like someone that helps you get good grades, more like the person who made sure we stayed 23 people all week) on the left and Ferdinando, the owner, on the right. Yesterday and the rest of today will be filled with a seminar on “Enogastronomical Communication” (translation: Food Writing) with Corby Kummer, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of several books on making coffee. I passed Amazon links said books along to a coffee-crazed friend, noting that a lot of ground has been covered in the last 10 years and it seems now that things that were once reserved for chemistry class are not being used to brew a cup of joe. If nothing else, this man has presence. He positioned himself on top of a desk, no powerpoint in sight, with his legs crossed, showing off his 50 shades of grey socks, and we began to discuss our first of three assignments. 1. Select a 1-2 …

It’s for School, I Swear

Out in the school’s didactic garden as part of our Biodynamic Agriculture class learning what to look for in healthy soil. Not pictured: when an earthworm (a positive thing in this context) wriggled around and caused one of my classmates to shriek. Yes, I have been traveling oodles lately. But I have also been in school. Though, by the looks of these pictures, it may seem more like I’m just frolicking around eating stuff and meeting cool people. Well, that’s kind of how I would describe the University of Gastronomic Sciences anyways. It’s only 10 years old (and remember, it’s in Italy) so it doesn’t really have the traditions or structure that an older, wiser institution would have. But if you think of it, as I do, as a physical place where experts come to share little tidbits for a few days at a time with a crazy group of 23 Masters students, then you’re golden. For an Editing Techniques class a few weeks ago, we had to make a short movie promoting “fresh and …

Lyon: The Food Capital of France

I don’t speak French so I’m not quite sure what I purchased inside Les Halles. I went for the “judge a book by its cover” method and it turned out pretty ok. So, this trip was a while ago now (scusa), but I did indeed cross the border and go to France. By car. We went under a tunnel connecting the two countries. There was no passport check. I did not drive. The weather was a little bit less than desirable, but that didn’t stop the triumphant trio (I’m working on a name with the same zing as dynamic duo but applying to three individuals) from having a wonderful weekend together. First, I will let y’all in on my new go-to weekend travel consultant: the NYT 36 Hours column. If you are arriving somewhere on a Friday evening, want to have a nice dinner and a drink, get cultured the next day, walk around, again eat well and drink well, and then maybe have a market excursion on Sunday morning, this is a wonderful guide. Also, The …

Roaming Rome: Part Two (The Study Trip)

Bagnoregio: a semi-crumbling city above the clouds about one hour outside Rome. From the other side, I had a really weird deja vu moment where I felt like I was looking out over the Golden Gate Bridge. Oh, California. Our second of five (yes, five) study trips took us to Lazio (the region of Rome) and more specifically to the town of Viterbo, which for a small place, is surprisingly happening on the Slow Food side of things. Brief recap: what is a study trip? Brief answer: an opportunity to meet food producers and members of the Slow Food community, eat lots of cheese and cured meat and feel like you are in middle school once again, among other things. On a semi-related note, let me tell you folks, TRAIN is the way to go for regional travel in Italy. No disgruntled airport workers telling you to throw out you 100mL shampoo bottles because there is no label on it. No stress with lost suitcases.  Anyhoo. I am learning that the essential parts of a study trip …

Let’s Grow Mold Together

The setup for Day 2. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I had to include a food pun. This week our Masters class had 2 Cheese Tasting sessions with quite possibly the most eccentric food expert I have ever encountered: a little man named Cristiano de Riccardis. I would highly highly highly recommend you watch the link I just included there so you can: 1. Hear his voice 2. Die of laughter 3. Die again of laughter 4. Re-watch the last 10 seconds a few times So I have to say, cheese has really only come on my radar in the last few years, or more specifically, when I moved to a little town in a dairy producing state to study Latin American Politics. I slowly but surely realized that I really heart goat cheese thanks to the case at the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Op. Apart from knowing what I like and don’t like, I lacked the vocabulary to really evaluate a cheese and also the crucial knowledge of when you should eat the rind and …

A Study Trip Down South: Calabria

Flashback to Morocco with this serious appetizer set up at Il Vecchio Castagno (The Old Chestnut). I think I should describe what this is starting clockwise on my plate. So. Zucchini. Pickled cauliflower. Couldn’t get enough of that. Provola cheese stuffed with cured meat. Pork literally shaved off the rib at the table. Pickled pear. Olives. Ricotta in a cute lil’ basket. This week I went on my first study trip–a marathon of eating pasta, meeting artisan food producers and Slow Food representatives, taking notes/ photos and eating more pasta in the region of Calabria. My new favorite things are ricotta and chestnuts. And pasta made with sauces involving nuts. The order of our meals typically followed this pattern: 1. Appetizer. Cured meats, cheese, you know. 2. Pasta course #1 3. Pasta course #2 Interlude. The Italians go outside and smoke. The children are restless. 4. Meat course #1 5. Meat course #2 Interlude. More smoking. Bathroom breaks. 6. Dessert 7. Liqueur 8. Espresso After 24 crazy students plus two “tutors” in charge of corralling the madness touched down …