Nestled up a side street in Arezzo, we lucked upon a restaurant with a fabulous array of Italian and French cheeses. I loved that I had a choice and of course chose the local ones.
They arrived with typical Italian flourish, their names tripping off our waiter’s tongue at breakneck speed. So whilst it sounded gorgeous, I had scant idea of what I was eating at the time! Later, after a few glasses of wine, I summoned enough courage in my stumbling Italianglish to ask his colleague to write down their names.
I am not sure he got them all correct, as there were 5 cheeses on my plate, but 6 on the list he so kindly wrote me!
So here’s what I think I ate, counter-clockwise from the top in the above picture. Raviggiolo, a silky smooth super-fresh cheese, almost like junket in its gentle milkiness. A ricotta, drizzled in olive oil and garnished with pepper. Stracchino di Capra, like a young Taleggio, a little tangy and made from goat’s milk. A youngish, soft Pecorino, and a Marzolino del Chianti, a pale, raw milk ewe’s cheese with a lemony roundness. Finally a Blu di Capra, a sharp, salty blue surprisingly easy to eat.
Luckily I brought my Slowfood Italian Cheese book with me from Nuova Zelanda to help me identify these Tuscan delights. It did however cast a shadow over my excitement at eating a latte crudo, raw milk Raviggiolo. I’d spied the cheese’s packaging in their cheese counter inside. However the Slowfood book distinguishes two types of Ravioggiolo, the ordinary one I ate, made from pasteurised milk, and a rather more rare type made from said raw milk, only available from October to March. Hmm I guess I will have to keep trying fresh cheeses until I can be sure to have crossed the raw milk fresh cheese off my bucket list. How terrible but I think dear friends, I am up to it.