In the news they’re calling it Black Ice Monday because of dangerous road conditions, but today it’s just more cookie baking after a break over the past 3-day holiday weekend. So far I’ve made 24 dozen in an assortment of abbracci, thumbprint cookies (from the same abbracci dough), and nucatoli. Right now a batch of gingerbread cookies are cooling on the counter, ready to be turned into gingerbread mendiants, and because I’m ahead of the baking game, I changed my tune about not making a lot of different cookies and tried a couple of interesting recipes by chef Yotam Ottolenghi. More on that tomorrow.
Make that every day with the way the weather has been these past few weeks. Even though the nights are rather cool, during waking hours it feels like early summer – perfect conditions for grilling and dining al fresco. Ever since the Slow Food Cheese event last month, caciocavallo impiccato (hanging cheese at the Molise food truck) has been on my mind and that’s what got me started on our own ‘cheese dangling’ experiment.
At the supermarket you can buy quartered caciocavallo which is just the amount we needed. At first I attached the cheese to a bamboo pole but quickly abandoned that idea as it wasn’t too practical. The Moth then set up his work ladder and with a few minor adjustments, the cheese could hang on its own. That left us free to grill the rest of the food and start into the wine.
I’ve discovered a kit for hosting your own caciocavallo party at home. You have to watch it (adds real meaning to the phrase “hanging around”), but I think the best way to enjoy this is at an Italian sagra like the one below. Look at those babies swing!
Cheese: pungent, spicy, sweet, hard, soft, creamy, fresh, aged, and the list goes on and on. Like every single edition in previous years, the Slow Food Cheese fair this past weekend was an enormous success, attracting visitors in the hundreds of thousands. The layout was pretty much the same as 2015 with a few new additions: an area for food trucks and beer stands, and a gelato stand that had this amaaaazing toasted corn flavor.
We went on Friday, opening day, just before lunch. In my opinion it is the best day to go if you want to have a look around, nibble, taste, and stock up without feeling as if the hoards have already been there before you. The pressing crowds have yet to arrive (the shuttle bus to and from was practically empty on our ride) and the whole town of Bra has a nice, clean feel to it. A big plus was the weather which was much cooler in comparison to past events.
Firm, semi-firm: Keen’s cheddar and Stichelton (UK), Montébore and Macagn (Italy). New to us is the Stichelton, which is similiar to Stilton but uses raw cow’s milk instead.
Soft, semi-soft and downright oozing: Anneau des Gors and Figuettine (France), Tartucrem (Italy), Capri Algas (Spain). With the exception of the Tartucrem (truffles and soft gorgonzola) the remaining 3 goat cheeses are already half gone. Capri Algas has flecks of seaweed in it, and hidden within the Figuettine is a candied fig!
Anyone who went to/blogged Slow Food Cheese 2017 is welcome to add a link to their post in the comments!