Dear friends, if you find yourself in holiday in Gargano you will certainly have the occasion to make a beautiful walk to see the green and deep woods or even better, go into the wonderful Umbra forest, in Gargano National Park that expands for kilometers along the central-oriental part of the territory.
You need to know that Gargano is a land full of surprises and in this place is easy to come across something really emotional, in fact it is very likely that you will see very close to you the sweetest eyes from all the forest, I am speaking about the eyes of the undisputed queen of our diary panorama, her majesty the podolica cow.
The sweet eyes of this splendid animal along with its charming beauty will brighten your day right away making it really magic especially if with you are your youngs or even better toddlers who will remain charmed.
This cow or better, this breed of cattle, is the undisputed queen of Gargano because from its fatty milk our shepherds, true artisan masters of cheese obtain, through a difficult process, the famous caciocavallo podolico, true gastronomic excellence of our territory. The beautiful thing that will strike you is that almost anytime, walking a little, it is possible to taste and acquire directly from the farms the famous caciocavallo podolico and why not even witness the production of this wonderful cheese.
You know, it’s almost impossible to see in other places herds of Podolic cattle at some steps away from you, with their rectilinear profile, characteristic horns and splendid grey mantle. When you are close enough they guard you with immense curiosity and even if they know that there is their territory and we are simple visitors, they let themselves be admired and give us, together with the green of the woods and the song of the birds, an almost supernatural contact with Mother Nature.
It will let you speechless the unforgettable living spectacle of this experience; an emotion that only in Gargano you can try. But let’s leave out all this for a moment and understand a little how this podolic cattle are raised and how the famous caciocavallo podolico is made. The raising method of these fantastic friends is free; the cattle are let free on the cliffs and mountains, where they eat exclusively wild herbs like rucola, borage, nettles, rosehip even hawthorn, carnelian, juniper and many others.
Another fantastic experience that this animal often makes us live is that of assisting of their, I call it “biologic schedule”; yes, you understood well my friends!! The cattle go grazing by themselves, every morning at the same hour and when the evening falls down, almost knowing what time is it, by themselves they return to the farm for reenter in their cribs and indulge themselves a little well deserved rest. An unique emotion, I guarantee..!
Speaking about the characteristics of Podolic cows, unfortunately they don’t offer a great qunatity of milk, and usually for making few caciocavallo cheese they use the milk from the whole herd. But the milk they offer is something exquisite, fatty and with a wild flavor from everything they eat. Exactly these characteristics make caciocavallo podolico a true delicacy; at its interior one can appreciate intense flavors and perfumes that will enchant you.
The production of caciocavallo podolico occurs through a variety of “artistic” heavy procedures. The shepherds that makes it are true artists and with their hands bring to life an unique and rare spectacle that you cannot miss.
In order to make the caciocavallo, first thing is to boil the milk and then the rennet is added (exclusively natural); the curd that is obtained, after the liquid from the pot is eliminated, is put into great ancient wood containers where it is left to rest where forms tall and round loaves. Once obtained the loaves, the shepherd with its never missing knife, begins to cut stripes of dough until is all finished. And here is where the difficult magic begins, and you will immediately find out why.
In an ancient wooden bowl, where first were put the stripes of dough, it’s poured boiling water; with an ability and unique resistance the skilled shepherd begins to work the dough, immersing it into boiling water with his bare hands and helping himself with a flat-faced stick begins to pull the dough making it homogenous and giving life to famous spun paste.
You should see them while this masters are at work, it’s an indescribable emotion. It’s like observing some great painter while painting his masterpiece. A spectacle..!
Once the dough is all made spun it begins the process of giving it the form. And look how another magic of our shepherd begins. With very complicated movements for us “the ordinary mortals” he brings to life the king of cheese form Gargano, the famous caciocavallo Podolico. Now our caciocavallo is ready to dive into the brine (a bowl with a highly concentration of salt) and spend a whole day in there.
Taken out from the brine, the caciocavallo is tied with a cord from its neck and it is let hanging in an environment with right temperature for all the time of its stage. Here it gets its famous shape. The crust of caciocavallo podolico, initially smooth and soft, gets hard with the pass of days protecting the famous cheese of atmospheric agents that otherwise would spoil it. The caciocavallo are like little babies for this shepherds, are their creation and they take care of them almost like they are their sons.
Almost always, these cheese are let to stage in the mountain farms where they can find the ideal air and temperature and so mature at their best; sometime they are even let in ancient deep underground wells. This method is much more ancient and the result will take your breath away.
The time of staging is minimum three months and goes up to three years or more; this gives caciocavallo an intense and complex flavor, with wild notes of herbs and smoke balanced by a sweet fruited retro taste; often it pinch the throat, this is the result of the wildish and natural diet of the cattles.
This is how caciocavallo podolico from Gargano is born, this is how is born a rare and mysterious cheese that from decades, in this land, unite and hold whole families. In this way the shepherds, thanks to the milk of this wonderful animal brings to life a true magic for your eyes and mouth.
This is the experience that I saw and I wanted to share with you today, that is the emotion that you can live, even with me if you want, visiting the Gargano.
Great experience on Gargano to you all…!!
P.s.: If you liked my article and appreciated my commitment click Like and Share on your social through the appropriate buttons. If you are interested in this kind of experience CONTACT ME, I will be happy to help and advise you in order to guarantee a fantastic experience. What are you waiting for? I’m here for you for FREE, and if you’re wondering why for FREE, you must know that I LOVE my land and I want everyone who visits to remain more than satisfied, therefore spirit, passion and so much love here is my recipe..!!