A picture perfect moment: new world cheese in very much an old world setting. When Ihsan and I first visited Bra, the show was very much for Italian and European cheeses. How times have changed! We are so proud to see our friends from the United States showing off how far we have come as cheese makers and how much we have learned from traditional cheesemaking, and have reinvented tradition to create delicious handmade cheese with an American twist. An example of this that is close to the heart of the Formaggio Kitchen Family- in the early 2000s when Michael Lee of Twig Farm was our cheese buyer, we sent him to Bra. There, he took advantage of the cheesemaking classes- and look at what he makes now!
Every 2 years, Slow Food organizes “Cheese,” a festival dedicated to and named in honor of the preserved preserved milk product. Tucked away in mountains of Piedmont, Bra is a small medieval town that is transformed into a sea of white tents with cheesemongers, cheese-lovers, cheese makers, farmers, food tourists, townspeople all jostling to taste, learn and talk about cheese.
Earlier this summer, I attended the Taste of Cambridge and came across some delicious cheese samples from Formaggio Kitchen. I made a mental note to visit the store, and set out many weeks later to make the journey.
Since I had never been to the shop before, I had the choice to either drive my car or make use of public transportation. Fearing the absence of parking spaces in the city, I chose to walk the 20 minutes from Harvard Square, which was a big mistake in the blistering heat that day, especially when I realized Formaggio Kitchen isn't exactly in the most central area of town. There were parking spaces galore.
Last Friday afternoon my wife and I drove into Cambridge, Massachusetts to pick up dinner. On the menu: cheese, a crusty bread, and any other specialty foods that caught our eye. We luckily found parking right outside of our destination—Formaggio Kitchen.
Although we aimed to get there a little earlier, my scattered brain and rush hour traffic put us at shopping an hour before closing time. It was fairly busy, and with everyone milling about in their coats it was a little cramped at times. Nevertheless, the staff remained enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genuinely excited to see customers. They offered us samples of cheese, salami and wine, ready to answer any question.