For brothers Egidio and Mario Fiandino, butter and cheese production is a matter of family tradition. Their forefather, Stephano Fiandino, founded what was to become Fattorie Fiandino at the turn of the 18th century when he moved to the Valle Maira in Piedmont from Milan to raise sheep and make cheese. In the 1920’s, the brothers’ grandfather, Magno, purchased the estate where the current Fattorie Fiandino is located from the Earls Grimaldi del Poggetto.
Due to the respect that Egidio and Mario have toward their family history, the culture of Piedmont and the ecology of the Valle Maira, Fattorie Fiandino only uses traditional techniques in the production of their butter and cheese. They stay away from much of the technology used in industrial production of dairy products. However, Fattorie Fiandino has also embraced some new technologies. For example, about 1/3 of their power comes from solar panels installed in 2005.
Lou Bergier is a raw cow’s milk cheese made in honor of Fattorie Fiandino’s founder, Stephano Fiandino. The name, Lou Bergier, is the term in the local Occitan language for shepherd, a fitting homage to “Magno,” who was a shepherd.
The cheese is made using an amalgamation of cheese-making techniques reflecting the cultural heritage of Piedmont. The use of thistle rennet to coagulate the milk is inspired by Spanish and Portugese cheese recipes while the tome style of the cheese is distinctly French. The name “Lou Bergier” reflects the fact that the French used to control the Piedmont region and the use of day-old whey to generate starter cultures is a largely Italian process.
Aged for sixty days, Lou Bergier has a velvety, mottled brown and grey rind and a semi-soft, pale yellow paste with small eyes.