Formaticum, formaggio, formage, caseus, queso, Käse? Call it whatever you like, but one thing’s for sure: Cheese tastes good, lots of cheese! Last night 27 incredibly well-palated students gathered for Umbra Institute’s first cheese tasting or “degustazione di formaggi” of the year. Each region in Italy is known for its unique and specific flavors so the choices seem endless to a foreigner, and ordering can be an ordeal. To remedy that, students tasted each of them so they could know what suited their tastes. Eleven cheeses in total were nibbled, from the strong, I’m-here-on-your-palate-to stay Asiago to the subtle, creamy Stracchino.
Staff member and cheese enthusiast Paul Schiller also gave a little cheese history and provided the “cultural context” for each of the cheeses. The production of cheese is a proud tradition in Italy, from the passionate pastoralists taking to the hills with their flocks, to the deli worker who can eye perfectly the desired amount, and then cut it from a great “forma” or wheel of cheese. Thanks to all the students who came, and apologies for our cheesy jokes.