Thursday, August 19, 2010
We’ve had our house in Todi for 20 years. So, you’d think I would know every square inch of country side around our home. The butcher, the baker...there’s even a candle stick maker (well, he makes honey and sells the wax). But the other day, on our way up to the house, we took a back road - a sort of short cut - since I was hoping the little super market in Collelungo would be open.
So, driving along a not-so-small road I see a sign that says “Caseificio.” Cheese maker. You’ve got to realize that we are only about 8 kilometers from the house where we’ve been spending weekends and summers for 20 years. And I never knew. I turn to my husband - who comes this way often, to meet his friend Edward for coffee and to buy the Herald. He sheepishly says “Oh yeah, I meant to tell you about this.” Like, when? In another 10 years?
So, we swerve off the asphalt road, onto a very bad dirt road that soon turns worse. And soon enough we are blocked by a herd of sheep. I know for sure we are on the right track. (Although I was a little perplexed by the extremely cute wild boar who seemed to think he was a sheep dog. )
We finally arrive at the ‘caseificio’, which is in fact a very nondescript suburban-looking house. Not a soul in sight, so I hop past a huge, and ancient sheep dog who barely blinks and eye, and ring the doorbell.
Soon enough the signora is taking me around back, down a steep staircase leading to a cellar. A large cheese cave, where stacks and stacks of pecorino cheese are laid out on slats, at various stages of the aging process.
That day I scooped up a plump wheel of aged pecorino, flecked with red pepper flakes. But this Sunday I went back since Sunday is the day of the week they make ricotta, and I wanted to make a crostata.
This time we had the full tour, including not only seeing baskets of ricotta being ladled out, but a trip up to visit the sheep and meet Pino, who must be the only sheep-guarding wild boar in Umbria.
Azienda Agricola Giuliani is located in in Collelungo, just past Izzalini near Todi in Umbria. Once you drive into Collelungo, from the direction of Izzalini, drive past the bar (which is on your right) and take the first dirt road on your left. There is a sign that says Caseificio Aperti. It’s the first house on your left. The only house on your left. And really, it’s just a house with no sign of it being anything else. Just knock on a door and someone will help you.