At Claudia’s – story of a ricotta

The owners: Address:
Claudia and Giancarlo Boschetti Via val d’Enza 23, Tavernelle (MS), Italy
Company’s name: Website / telephone number:
Azienda Agricola Boschetti Giancarlo https://www.facebook.com/aziendaagricolagiancarlo.boschetti/about

 

Products:

Ricotta made with around 80% sheep / 20% goat milk (depending on the batch, quantities may vary) and pecorino (with sheep milk).

Our pick?

THE RICOTTA.

Yes, we’re pretty sure :)

 

Production process:

Claudia and her husband own around 170 sheep of the local ‘massese’ breed and 10 goats.

Most of the time the animals are left to graze in pastures nearby; following pastoral traditions, at the beginning of July they will leave for ‘transumanza’ (transhumance), bringing the flock to graze in pastures higher up in the hills.

Claudia’s husband is in charge of milking the animals, which he then brings to where she will make and sell the various kinds. Coming from a family of farmers, Claudia keeps alive very traditional ways of cheese making and does everything by hand.

The curd is made from the day’s milk in copper buckets; it will be the basis for the primosale, which can be eaten fresh or left to ripen for a few months, depending on taste. The whey, which is what is left of the milk once the curd is taken away, is placed on a stove and brought to boil: what rises to the surface, after being placed in napkins (do see pictures:) and left to drip and cool down, is ricotta.

 

Talking along:

The town of Tavernelle is tiny, sunny, quiet, cut in its middle by a windy road that leads on top of the mountain rising at its back. It is here that I find Claudia, who will tell me all about her products while intent in making them, busy mixing the curd or bringing the ricotta to boil.

Again, my city-girl fascination takes over: for the first time I am actually able to see the steps that lead to the production of the wonderful thing that is cheese. Having told her that I am from Milan, Claudia eyes me with slight pity and takes me under her wing, describing to me what she is doing and laughing every time she realizes I REALLY have never seen this before; born in a family of farmers, all of what she is doing is for her just part of the daily routine.

I am soon to find out that Claudia considers still-warm ricotta a delicacy. Not trying it would mean to miss out on a crucial part of the experience, plus once she offers I can’t really refuse. Not finding a spoon, it is decided that I will have to drink it.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of smelling warm, freshly milked milk. Let’s say that it’s something that takes getting used to – and I just couldn’t. I tried taking a few sips – some even while pinching my nose – but soon had to give up, apologizing while Claudia kindly laughed and shook her head.

I smile, slowly edging towards the window and finally taking in a breath of fresh, non-cheesy air.

 

Could you find it at La Sosta?

Among her products, we have decided to buy her ricotta, which she should have from April to the end of June / beginning of July. Her other cheese is good too, but this one has a particular flavor which reminds us of grass and hills that is really hard to find nowadays.

We should be serving it, when available, at breakfast and maybe at dinner, if Chef Luca finds something to pair it with.

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