Piedmontese town gets cheesy: 20th edition of festival.

Agrì di Valtorta, Slow Food Cheese.

BRA – The cheese festival will take place in Bra, in the Province of Cuneo, in mid-September. The world of dairy products, Slow Food International and the municipality of Bra will take part in the event. The twentieth edition will offer free entrance to the streets and squares of Bra from 15 to 18 Sept. The 2017 edition will put raw milk under the spotlight. For the first time, all cheeses present will be produced with milk not subject to pasteurisation. 

“The challenge of raw milk is still to be overcome” said Slow Food President Carlo Petrini, pointing out how cheese has brought forward top quality products and highlighted the problems shepherds face, in order to defend them.

 Petrini was also glad about Slow Food’s approach, especially in the United States, concerning the introduction of raw milk cheeses that, little by little, are gaining more and more market share, adding that “Cheese's ‘sons’ are the dozens of dairy producers who express today all the beauty of the territories and their diversity there.”

 "I would love for cheese to be the proof that Mother Earth goes on being everywhere” Petrini said, explaining that all are invited to participate in fundraising for two counties in Kenya: "Cheese helps over 3 million shepherds and breeders affected by drought in Kenya."

 Slow Food Italia's Chairman Gaetano Pascale recalled this was “an opportunity to make a point to the world about milk and cheeses and to guide it to raising awareness not only among producers but also consumers.”

 According to Slow Food Italia, the development model of the last thirty years has reduced the number of farms, raising their sizes. The process failed to make the sector more efficient and tended to penalise productions more concerned by biodiversity and animal welfare.

 “Moreover, this brings the question of taste standardisation, since the use of selected ferments diminishes the cheese’s uniqueness” explained Piero Sardo, president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity Onlus.

 Giorgio Ferrero, Piemonte council member for Agriculture, stated that raw milk is also “a food heritage that needs to be defended and valued.”

 The Mayor of Bra, Bruna Sibille, commented "In these twenty years, cheese festival has enabled us to move towards good practices that then became part of Bra’s system, in a sort of ‘slow life’ shared by many."

The complete program of the Cheese 2017 edition is available at http://cheese.slowfood.it/. 

Raw milk cheese.