Italian flavours: the smoked fatulì cheese from Valsaviore
In Valle Camonica there’s a little, tasty cheese named fatulì, standing out for its delicate flavour. It’s made with unpasteurized milk of a local kind of goat, called “capra bionda”, or blonde goat, a rare species with only about 4,000 heads of cattle, saved by extinction thanks to the efforts of farmers and the community. The name of this precious product is very similar to the greek “feta”, small cheese, and doesn’t mean “fetta”, slice. The shepherds used to smoke the fatulì in the Alpine huts, burning aromatic bunches of juniper, for a long-lasting preservation.
The production is certified according to a precise procedure: the milk has to be milked at most two following times, the goats must be breed in the wild, eating mountain herbs that give the milk a unique taste. GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) and animal flour are forbidden. The cheese is recognized by Slow Food Italy, as a traditional agricultural product by Regione Lombardia and with other important acknowledgments. Inside the fatulì there’s a land tradition, respectful of sustainability and environmental protection, ancient production techniques and the wellness of breeders and animals.
The smoking process takes place few days after production, from February to October, on grids arranged on the fireplace, burning juniper ND also hazelnut tree or beech. The diameter has to be from 10 to 14 cm (4/5 inches) and a weight of 3/5 hg (14 ounces) per piece. The surface is slightly brown and shows signs of the grid, the inner colour is straw-yellow. Aging goes on for about 30 days, up to six months for a tougher cheese, good to shave. Try the fatulì toasted or raw, with honey, fruit or onion compotes. One of the most delicious ways is the recipe for “risotto” with pears and fatulì, or pizza with fatulì and leeks.