Kevin Twomey spent a few magical weeks in Italy this summer. When he shared his photos and stories with us, we suggested he share them on the blog as well. Kevin’s account is very beautiful and reminded us of the importance of slowing down.
“”When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” When it comes to food, that saying won’t steer you wrong anywhere in Italy you happen to visit and enjoy a meal.
This past August I went to see the in-laws in northern Italy with my wife. We spent a week in the Alps eating, hiking and eating some more. I am a big proponent of eating home cooked meals and locally grown food and I am happy to report there was no shortage of either on my trip.
A mile up the road from my in-laws summerhouse, close to the town of Oltre il Colle, is an abandoned ski resort where a handful of cows graze at the granite peaked base of Monte Alben for the summer months. These cows belong to a local herder, Tobia. Tobia and his brother have lived amongst these mountains their whole lives. Things are much simpler than my current urban city life and it was good to see the old methods of doing things were just the present day routine for people in the surrounding villages.
We met Tobia and his brother as they were milking their cows. Sonoyo, my sister-in-law, gets her milk products from Tobia and thinks nothing of the daily errand that I found to be such a luxury. Tobia didn’t have any fancy milking machine, no weird tools or suction devices. A bucket and an old wooden stool to sit on was all that was required, go figure.
After a few introductions and a brief conversation about weather, health, family and how two of his cows will be turned into Bresaola this fall, Tobia took his bucket full of fresh milk and filled up Sonoyo’s liter bottle.
A few days later we went to Tobia’s house to buy cheese. The first thing I noticed was the breathtaking view surrounding his home. Lush green rolling hills as far as the eye can see, mountains upon mountains towering over on all sides. And the garden! He had a rich array of so many different kinds of vegetables, it was quiet a sight and put my town’s community garden to shame.
There was a separate room devoted to storing and aging Tobia’s home made cheese. He had some that was days old to a couple years and he wanted us to taste them all. We had our tasting and made some hard choices of what to schlep back to the states. We walked away with about a two month supply.
It was refreshing to see things done old school style with little fuss producing such high quality product. Tobia has been doing things the same way his father and his father’s father and so on and so forth. Generations not obsessed with doing better but instead knowing what works is sometimes the best way to do it.”