Q&A with our Cheesemaker Rosie Cupitt on her recent trip to Italy to attend the Bra Cheese Festival17 October 2019 – posted in: Uncategorized

Every two years, this international event of cheese takes place in the heart of Italy´s Piemont region in the little town of Bra. The four-day festival, dubbed simply Cheese, is hosted by Slow Food International, which has its headquarters in Bra. “The first edition of Cheese was held 20 years ago, where we gathered signatures in defence of raw milk,” the president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, Piero Sardo, explains. This year’s event, which included cheese from Australia, took place in September, with a theme – ‘The state of raw milk’ – that harks back to that first petition.

1. What are you most excited about attending the Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy?
The Cheese Festival represents cheese made from all over the world, so to be in a place with so many other makers of the product is quite overwhelming…..too many people to see and cheese to taste. I loved catching up with my cheesemaking friends from the UK, France and Italy at Bra to hear what they’re doing in their cheese rooms and taste their cheese.

2. The theme of the festival is ‘Natural is possible’, how does this relate to Australian cheese that has stricter controls around Raw Milk Cheese Production?
Artisan cheese makers agree that cheese from raw milk makes the most flavoursome cheeses, but there are many criteria that must be considered and strict controls for a producer to make a raw milk cheese in Australia. Quite a few Australian cheese makers are using raw milk to make some of their cheeses, and many are investigating methods to do the same. In Bra all of the cheeses were made from raw milk, including soft and semi hard cheeses. It is my hope that raw milk cheeses will become more available in Australia so the true characteristics of the milk shine though. 

3. What was your best discovery at the Cheese Festival?
Jasper Valley Blue from Vermont was amazing, but also beautiful mozzarella and burrata made in Italy from buffalo and cow’s milk…..so delicious and popular.

4. What was your best discovery in Bra (Bar/Restaurant/Accommodation etc)?
I always go to Osteria Boccondivino in Bra for lunch, which is a restaurant run by Slow Food and is the headquarters for Slow Food International. The restaurant is in a beautiful old building with a gorgeous courtyard, which is a great place to catch with friends at the Cheese Festival. Only the best local produce is used and the menu is always outstanding using Italian traditional recipes.

5. Craziest cheese discovery at Bra?
The ridiculous cheese mite ridden cheeses that were gleaned from the rubbish bin of cheese makers and displayed as a mountain…people were going mad for them and the mountain became a hill, and then….it disappeared! The interest was a bit like folks who go crazy for natural wines even if they really don’t taste very good, but they are different.

6. Is there a cheese you’d love to now make at Cupitt’s?
Definitely mozzarella and burrata will be available at Cupitt’s Fromagerie in the future particularly after I made a visit to friends in Italy to hone my skills in making the two styles.