Monday, July 20, 2015

Agriturismo Le Campestre's Conciato Romano - A Cheese with a Humble Past and a Glorious Future, Castel di Sasso (Ce)


Conciato romano cheese and Agriturismo Le Campestre.  I was introduced to both examples of Campania quality for the first  back in March of 2011.  Conciato romano is a pickled cheese- dating back to the Samnite civilization.    It's produced in Alto Casertano, home to Agritursimo Le Campestre and the Lombardi family who has nearly single handedly brought this cheese back to life by promoting it on a national level and helping it to become a Slow Food Presidia.  Le Campestre's web site describes this particular cheese like this...

Vorremmo raccontare il Conciato Romano ma non è facile farne una semplice descrizione in quanto non è solo un formaggio ma una vera esperienza antropologica.
E’ quell’insieme di sensazioni che investe il palato, travolge i sensi, rievoca trascorsi imprimendo il ricordo...


We would like to talk about Conciato Romano but it isn't easy to give a simple description since it isn't just a cheese but a real anthropological experience.  Together with the sensations that invest the palate,overwhelms the senses, and evokes after impressing memories...

Manuel Lombardi

I've seen Manuel Lombardi many times since that lazy afternoon in 2011 and I am proud to say that we have become friends.  His cheese  has found its way on menus in top restaurants and pizzerias throughout Campania and Italy as well.   Sitting  down with Lombardi and family as he opened up a terracotta amphora with that strong intense aroma was moving.  It was as if, after a year of ageing, he was presenting it to the world for the first time.  A proud papa', so to speak...
A proud papa' who is serious about this particular product that requires care, dedication, and amore to produce.  That same care, dedication, and amore is also required when pairing as well.
Signora Lilliana Lombardi
So what was the pairing of the day?  It required something sweet, dolce, Lombardi told me.  So that particular afternoon, with a warm summer breeze, the Lombardi family took me on a trip through time...
Beginning with baked pears. ( Pere volpine - fox pears - a forgotten fruit that has an interesting history as well) These pears were baked with another historical Alto Casertano treasure - a sparkling wine known as Asprinio  D'Aversa produced by a nearby winery- I Borboni, and sugar.



All this sweetness, dolcezza, went perfectly with carefully sliced chunks of conciato romano cheese...



A cheese that I have tried on pizzas, in dishes in several Campania restaurants.
But honestly?
I enjoyed it this way.  On a summer afternoon. With the Lombardi family.
At Le Campestre.

Learn more about this specialty here...

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