A fine seasonal cheese, a glass of wine, a social gathering, or an opportunity to meditate, unwind and enjoy the moment. Certain products have an elective affinity, and when tasted together, they not only delight our palate but also offer a pleasurable and enjoyable experience.
Cheese is one of the foods – or perhaps even the number one food – that we like to find on the table and often indulge in between meals. There are hundreds of cheese varieties, from the most highly prized to lesser-known local products, from soft to hard cheeses, from more mature and flavourful cheeses to the fresher and more delicate ones.
It goes without saying that cheese and wine is a classic food and wine pairing. However, in this case, we are not referring to scientific theories, technical elements, or organoleptic analyses but rather to a more emotional and ancestral aspect, that of sharing.
In the cuisine and everyday life of Our Rustica, cheese and wine are an essential pairing that has to be chosen carefully, painstakingly, and lovingly: the same care, attention and love with which Vitale Girardi, owner of the Malga Ribelle farm in Farra di Soligo, rears livestock, prunes the vines, produces cheeses, and tends his land.
Vitale, Ruth, and Andrea had a special encounter, which brought together like-minded souls who passionately believe in the importance of land and self-sufficiency, striving to maintain a constant balance between man and nature.
After gaining extensive experience abroad, which took him from New Zealand to France, working on farms and organic farms, Vitale set out to establish Malga Ribelle on the Prosecco Hills, translating his idea of circular agriculture, with zero waste, into practice.
He aims to manage the entire wine and cheese production chain by creating an ecosystem in which all elements interact with each other: for instance, the fertiliser used in the vineyards comes from cows, thus closing the natural life cycle at the heart of this virtuous economy.
Malga Ribelle produces one type of wine and various types of cheese according to season and the time available: in a business where the work is pure craftsmanship, the production pace is driven by the human factor.
The types of cheese produced include soft cheeses such as stracchino, ricotta, caciotta, and robiola, and a mature cheese, although they vary from one season to the next and reflect the choices made by Vitale. In fact, he is a firm believer in the importance of pasture for a high-quality finished product and only uses raw milk (without adding external microbial flora), which allows him to obtain a more complete, richer product that is processed over a longer period of time.
As for seasonal cheeses, which are fresh in winter and mature in summer, when livestock are fed in the meadows on alpine pastures, what cows graze on is crucial as it determines their taste, and this very much depends on whether they are fed on hay or grass.
The “Prosecco col Fondo” Vitale Valdobbiadene DOCG, which is refermented in the bottle with no residual sugar, made from grapes harvested when ripe and grown in rocky soil, is regarded as the most emblematic wine of this area.
With its low sulphur dioxide content, it is a balanced and easily digestible wine, which instantly delights the palate and nose with its gentle bubbles, great acidity and minerality that are quite common in wines produced in this area, where the clayey soil allows for elegant wines with a good balance of acidity and savoury notes, taste, and aroma.
It almost as if Vitale created this wine specifically to be paired with a cheese platter, but probably at the basis of such a perfect match is simply the hand of nature and a territory where products and raw materials are in harmony with each other.
Ruth and Andrea always put quality, respect for nature and production methods first when choosing a product. However, when it comes to sharing it with their guests, they look for a story to tell, a passion to communicate, a feeling to experience together.
Cheese can be found in many food preparations and recipes in Andrea’s cuisine; for example, in delicious risottos and stuffed focaccia bread, and abounds on wooden chopping boards garnished with edible flowers, served with vegetables, and cured meats. Accompanied by a bottle of Prosecco, which should always be kept at the ready in the fridge, it is the easiest and most genuine way to welcome new guests and make them feel at ease right away.