Two Days in Bra, Italy

It turned out to be two hectic days in Bra. But up until I arrived in Bra, it was a long and tiresome journey that ended well in spite of some Italian lack of structure along the route. I flew in to Turin and must admit it’s not the center of the world. There is a bus service from the airport to the city center, but it also serves as a local buss service, but actually did call on the train station where my train to Alba was parting from. I don’t speak Italian and the Italians don’t speak English; it’s not much more you can do other than fold your hands and hope for the best. Arrived in Alba in good shape and walked the ten minutes it took to my Bed and Breakfast where my arrival came as nothing less than a surprise. But I had my confirmation, so who had to move out, I do not know, but I moved in. Thee was a wait while everything was arranged, during which I was cordially served both wine and a bite. One happy family, but again, no English spoken. Not that I expect everybody to speak English just because I happen to speak it, but I find it somewhat practical, after all. Douce Maison is absolutely recommended if you are happy with a fair standard, clean rooms and a central location across the street from the main church in Alba; ready to be woken up by the church bells at 7 am every morning.

A stream of people at Cheese 2017 in Bra.
A stream of people at Cheese 2017 in Bra

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Sister Noella – Abbey of Regina Laudis

In Bethelehem, CT, set in beautiful surroundings, you’ll find the Benedictine convent Abbey of Regina Laudis. 450 acres of farmland and forests tucked away in Litchfield county. Amazing. It was of course cheese that brought me to Sister Noella and the Abbey, or us as I took my whole family along. A cheese and a dairy that had completely missed my radar. Not that I know of every farmstead cheese maker in the world, far from it, and especially not in Connecticut, hardly regarded as one of the cheese making states in the US. Nothing like Wisconsin and Vermont. In addition, they only make about six wheels of cheese per week, of raw milk from four cows. Hand milked of course. Barely for sale either; at least you have to go there to buy it. Not on a Wednesday, though. There is, however, one particular and important reason Sister Noella appeared on my screen. Well, they told me at Cato Corner Farm I should visit her, but more importantly a Facebook post about Sister Noella and her doctoral work on microorganisms, Geotrichum Candidum in particular. If I’d been part of the inner circle of world cheese making, I would have long since known about her. She’s a capacity in her field. Never too late, though, to become acquainted with interesting people. We had an awesome hour together in the cellar (and the Church on the hill). We arrived very unannounced, so it was just about we got to meet with her. Glad she managed to squeeze us in.

Sister Noella
Sister Noella at Abbey of Regina Laudis, Connecticut

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Cato Corner Farm – Connecticut farmstead cheese

Tucked away in the Connecticut countryside, not far from Colchester, is the Cato Corner Farm along Cato Corner Road. I do not know which came first, the farm or the road; not that it matters either. The fun thing is that this is a farmstead dairy, making cheese from raw milk. I know about some of them, especially in Vermont. I am particularly concerned with raw milk cheese, so there are quite a few dairies that are excluded from my list, naturally. Having said that, the USA is a huge country, with such a variety when it comes to cheese making, that I am fine with not having a complete overview. Even counting just those doing raw milk cheese. Since I after all are in Connecticut for the moment, on vacation, it was sort of good fortune there was a farmstead dairy close by, doing raw milk cheese. So we were of course set off to visit, not only once, but twice.

Cato corner farm
The Cheese Shop at Cato Corner Farm, Colchester, CT.

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