In Monale there is Raffaele, who takes care of his goats a bit mischievous, but with their milk produces award-winning cheeses!
On one of these early spring days, I got into the car to meet Raffaele, owner of the Cascina Aris farm.
Before reaching my destination, I stopped in Monale, a small town in the province of Asti of about 1,000 inhabitants.
A really delightful place, where sky and woods, country roads and nature coexist happily together!
To crown this bucolic landscape, a Castle, the Castle of Monale, not open to the public for guided tours, but whose halls are used as sumptuous locations for weddings/bed & breakfast. A place to consider for tourists looking for relaxing, immersed stays in the peace of the countryside.
I have, therefore, resumed my tour, destination: Cascina Aris! The road to follow is all curved, climbs slowly until you get to the hilltop “cucuzzolo”. As soon as I got out of the car, I had the feeling of having landed on another planet: an enchanting place, with a magnificent view and many green meadows around the farm.
Raffaele welcomed me with open arms and immediately took me for a walk to meet all his animals … and believe me, they were also quite anxious to make my acquaintance, they immediately realized that a ‘stranger’ had arrived in their territory ? !
The inhabitants of the Cascina are very varied: goats, horses, pigs, geese… and even a nice dog!
The feeling of having landed in a different place continued, it was like being in a small Noah’s Ark, but without the elephants and giraffes! Raffaele breeds his animals with a passion and respects the etiology and characteristics of each species.
The goats are really curious animals, who would have thought that they spend their time getting spiteful and quarreling, they really have a hard head … so, Raffaele tells me, that he keeps separate the most “lively” and in the mood to create disarray, but little use, because even after a month of estrangement, they start to quarrel and bleat between them. And who knew that goats had such a strong temperament?
Seasonality is very important for Raffaele!
Raffaele follows the seasonality as far as the milking of his goats is concerned, he does not force the production of milk in respect of his animals and the surrounding environment. This brings him great results: in fact, his cheeses win many awards throughout Italy, such as the “Premio Roma”, where Ciuffettino cheese won first place or the “Crudi in Italia” award, in which the Caciotta di capra was ranked first!
The pigs are kept free so that they can walk in the woods around the Cascina. They are also fed with the residues of the processing of goat’s milk, in short, ecology and economy circular 10 and praise!
And the most awaited moment has arrived: the tasting of cold cuts and cheeses delights for the palate!
While I was tasting all those good (and genuine) things, I was thinking to myself, “That’s right, why they won all those awards…”, there had to be a reason! Between one tasting and the next, Raffaele showed me his small workshop, where he creates all his delicacies: many types of cheese to be a family farm! How much commitment and dedication, Raffaele is certainly an excellent producer of goat cheese with all the papers in order!
My tour continued in Portacomaro… but that’s another story!
See you on the next post!