I love cheese. In all its varied flavours and textures, it is the one food that I just can’t manage without.
When I first moved to Italy, I pined for the taste of cheddar cheese, preferably on toast. Now, accustomed as I am to the Italian varieties, when I visited the South Tyrol area of the Italian Dolomites recently, a great treat was in store.
First of all, I was being completely pampered and spoiled by Hotel Adler in Villabassa, of which I was a guest courtesy of the owner Christian Pircher, along with fellow blogger Tom Weber, The Palladian Traveler. Their food is splendid and we ate like kings (and queens) every evening.
After three days of high adventure, cycling, walking and – being terrified of heights and embarrassed to admit – sobbing with fright while hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo, I was now delighted to have an opportunity to visit a large dairy producer just outside the town of Dobbiaco.
Hopping in the car with the sat-nav lady in control of our destination, we soon arrived at Latteria Tre Cime – or Mondolatte (The World of Milk) – a dairy that has been in operation for 132 years.
Here they manufacture cheese, butter, yoghurt and ricotta in abundance. We were greeted by an enthusiastic Florian Hellweger, who organises tours to the milk and cheese museum, where he’s a fount of interesting information.
We followed Florian upstairs to the museum.
Here, as well as dairy-related artefacts, we were greeted by a long hall with floor to ceiling windows along one side.
Through these windows we could see the cheese makers at work. We then moved on to the next view point where we could see the fresh milk, cream, butter and yoghurt in production. This was followed by, what they call, the maturation cellar, where we were able to see the huge wheels of cheese being turned and stored.
For those of you who like to know facts and figures, we were told that Latteria Tre Cime is a very large producer and cooperative with about 180 members, which collects 35,000 litres of milk every day from the local dairy farmers. From this they, interestingly, get two types of milk: Heumilch (Haymilk), which comprises 40% of the yield and comes from cattle fed on hay, never on silage, and is high in Omega 3. And ordinary milk which is sold separately and in a differently designed carton.
Latteria Tre Cime distributes milk and cheese in the Val Pusteria only. They also make unsalted butter and Florian told us that their cutting cheeses – apart from Original Dobbiaco – are flavoured with herbs, are spicy, or are smoked.
There is an interesting shop on the premises containing every dairy product imaginable.
Here we sampled several cheeses and decided our favourites were the Original Dobbiaco and their Grana. Both delicious.
Our cheese education complete, we took a stroll around Dobbiaco and admired the happy cattle grazing and dozing in the wonderfully verdant countryside of the Val Pusteria.
As a postscript, I would like to thank my loyal followers for nominating me in no less than THREE categories for the Italy Magazine Blogger Awards 2015. I would be truly grateful if you would now vote for me to win on these three categories by clicking HERE.