Yes, ladies and gents, what I saw on the other side of the Baita’s* window, was worthy of a “When Harry Met Sally” moment. (I think we all know which moment I’m referring to.)
The place is packed, tiled-floor-to-wooden-rafters, with the most delectable formaggi on the planet. But my eyes and heart were riveted on two. The extra-aged Parmigiano Reggiano—be still my cuore. And the Gorgonzola, from Piemonte, which is scooped, dripping, out of its own skin with none other than a spoon. There will be no slicing for this baby.
Are you feeling what I’m feeling?
NOTES: 1. A “baita” is a typical, Alpine construction—think big chalet—made of stone and wood. In the old days, and maybe still today, cheese producers made their cheeses in them, from the milk given by the goats, sheep and cows that graze on Alpine pastures. 2. The parmigiano pictured above is a “stravecchio” (extra-aged, 30-36 months), from the high pastures of the Emilian Apennines. 3. The Gorgonozola is a Novarese Gorgonzola, which was voted the Best sweet gorgonzola of 2011 and which is among the top 14 best cheeses of Europe (“Tuttofood Cheese Award”). 4. The spoon is the “Daily Cure” spoon. Did you recognize it?
… this made me think of that adorable little mom ‘n pop (mama e papa) cheese shop I wandered into one day in Milano while you were in class… the two owners treated me like a long lost relative when I told them I spoke practically no Italian, was half French/half American but LOVED cheese. They had me taste a slew of them and each one had a story… “this one is made by Enzo on his farm up on — mountain….” etc. I’ll never forget it. So sweet.
I remember your visit so well…and I remember also the amazing pasta dish you made with almonds…do you remember? That was a really nice neighborhood…and a great little cheese store. I miss it…all that good congested city center diversity and richness of culture.
ps: the word Baita means Home in Basque (at least that’s one word for it)…