Saturday, 30 April 2011

THE PIG AND THE WOLF (Story about cheese and Franco)

Do I love cheese, or do I love cheese? Let's say that in our home, in Italy, you would rarely have eaten a sweet or a cake, but one thing was sure: at the end of every meal, a selection of cheese would end up on the table, possibly accompanied by something like a simple salad.

As I was strolling home with my husband, in Italy, last month, I decided to walk into a latteria where I had bought cheese before... good, excellent cheese, all made locally with good, "dietetici" (organic) ingredients.

There's something special about entering a "Latticini" shop, in Italy: the heat makes these shops smell really lovely and homely and you want to buy everything!

A cheese stall in a street market, in Italy

The first thing I noticed, was a string of cheese animals, hanging in the background. I had to buy one, as my mum always bought me a Porcellino di Scamorza (Scamorza cheese piglet) when we went food shopping together. Then (this is actually the reason why I went in the shop) I saw the QUEEN of all cheeses: BURRATA. I bought a really big burrata nicely wrapped up in white paper and a baby one.

Next, I asked the man to cut me a nice slice of scamorzone... a beautiful big cheese, hard on the outside, but soft and almost spongy on the inside and slightly reminiscent of the gorgeous natural sponges you buy on the Greek Islands, or of your mum's breasts (really!)

I also bought another local delicacy: ricotta piccante (hot ricotta) which is spreadable and delicious. It looks like butter, but you have with with some pasta dishes and wherever you think you need a bit of a hot "kick." It's good on bruschetta, too!

Ricotta piccante

I took my "Pot of gold" to my sister's house. I worried about the cheese, as we walked, as the midday sun was so hot. As we walked, we saw enormous cacti, banana plants, oranges and lemons, all growing in ordinary gardens. The sun made me feel hot, but happy. I can so easily forget who I am, when the sun takes over my mind! It makes me so dizzy!

When we got back, we placed all the cheese in the fridge. My big burrata was so big and beautiful, and such a rare thing (you only get real burrata in Bari, as it doesn't travel at all, and you should really eat it straight away.) A burrata is like a ball of mozzarella (on the outside) totally filled with best cream and shreds of the most fantastic mozzarella you have ever eaten. It's sexy, beautiful, round and "juicy" and... I LOVE IT!

A whole BIG burrata (before)

... and after. It's so good!

I kept the cheese until the evening, when we ate it with olives, Altamura bread, and a simple salad made just with cicoria (a type of chicory you eat raw) and olive oil. The cicoria reminded me of my mum, who used to love it. We had a simple, but fantastic meal, that evening. A smoked scamorza, from my sister's fridge, added an extra taste sensation.

Raw cicoria. You make a salad with the "tips"

It needs no dressing: just best olive oil and some salt!

All day I constantly thought of the little cheesy pig I had bought.  In my mind I ate it so many times, in so many ways: I had visions of myself gradually peeling the outer layer, "undressing" the cheese to discover and enjoy the soft centre.

That evening,  as I went to take the pig from the cheese platter, I looked at my brother in law, Franco. With a very fast move, he took my cheese, and, in one gulp, he ate it! "Stop, stop!" I wanted to cry "You are eating my pig!" But there... he was chewing it, and swallowed it in one go, MY PIG!

He ate it and I didn't even have time to chant, like the pigs did in the story " By the hair on my chinny chin chin I won't let you in!" The wolf ate the pig and all that was left was a bit of green string... the collar! Sigh! NO!

From top to bottom: my big beautiful burrata, wrapped up in red and white paper, a small burrata, with green string, smoked scamorza, MY little cheesy pig, wearing a green collar
On the plate, a lovely slice of scamorzone (with holes)

I was so upset, I could have cried... he ate my pig! Good job the nicely chilled Prosecco was on the table. I had to drown my sorrow, didn't I? OINK!... OINK! OINK! Cin Cin!

1 comment:

  1. I really wanted to see that cheese pig! can't believe it was eaten.