Claudia Ridolfi: the ancient art of refining cheese
Ancient as the pastures, tasty as the herbs of the field: here you are, a woman who dedicated her life to refine cheeses.
There is an amazing area in Italy, called Montefeltro, between Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions. In that place, the hills and fields confuse the traveller and hide the borders giving space to nature, to the pastures, and the small picturesque villages.
In these spectacular landscapes, there is the protagonist of our tale, Claudia Ridolfi, that some years ago, left her job in the world of art and design to pursue the path of her mother’s knowledge: the cheese. Because the countryside of Montefeltro has a long tradition of cheese made with sheep milk, the celebrated “Pecorino”.
But Claudia doesn’t have fields, Claudia doesn’t have sheds or stables and she doesn’t have sheep! So how does she make cheese? Claudia focuses her efforts on a particular art: she is a specialist in refining cheeses.
In the village of Mondavio, in the heart of Montefeltro, Claudia founded “Affinità Gustative” which means “Refined Tastes” according to her particular job. She takes from local manufacturers fresh sheep cheese made with raw milk, not pasteurized coming from animals that eat herbs from the Montefeltro fields. With these good products, she works. Claudia takes Pecorino into an amazing Renaissance tuff cellar with a unique microclimate that makes her products inimitable. Time, darkness and humidity are her ally: they are the helpers of her job.
Different kinds of Pecorino go out from Claudia’s cellar, thanks also to the ways to refine them. Claudia uses casks, barrel, earthenware jars and other ancient vessels that come from the traditional and the millenary knowledge of the peasant. These materials are part of the process. They are the main actors that give cheeses the “Taste”.
Claudia gives a recognizable and unique taste to her cheeses. For example, she wraps the Pecorino leaves in walnut and here you get the magic: from the cellar, the miracle happens, the strong taste of the humidity of the ground brides perfectly the freshness of the wood,and the walnut.
But the fantasy and the artistic soul of Claudia come out even in other combinations, for example, she makes an incredible Pecorino with the wine (she puts the cheese in a barrel and every day she pours the wine to make the cheese absorbs the flavours- this is art! This is life!), laurel and wild fennel.
Claudia brings her Pecorinos to the highest levels of different products to refine them: the grapevine leaves, the acacia flowers, the bran wheat.
It means you need to book a holiday in Montefeltro to enjoy every day a different slice of cheese, maybe with a… glass of wine!
Viale Gioacchino Rossini, 4, 61040 Mondavio PU – ITALY