Friday, April 06, 2007

…tastes just like cherry coh-lah...

(stripped of branding to make it acceptable for public blogcast)

But first, a quick, polenta-fuelled, trip up a mountain to see the natural sculptures in the Valle di Sella in the snow. Up where the air is thin and the snow doth fall in late March, artists are ferried in during the summer (less snow then) to make sculptures out of natural material which are left to weather the effects of the elements.
Top of the list is the work-in-progress tree cathedral. In theory, after 25 years, the trees inside the wooden framework will have grown into the desired shape, and the framework itself will have rotted away, leaving a living, leafy building.

Among the other bits and pieces (including an amphiteatre made of woven twigs) that are scattered through the forest is this one, which as far as I recall is called "Pieces of Stripped Pine" or something.
Then off we went to Trento to dry off our trouser legs and practice looking more glamorous while wandering through streets where the walls looked like this… …and the sky looked like this… But, whither Lola? Luckily, Trento isn't all about miniscule gelati and elegant little cups of espresso. All that fresh mountain air means they take their food seriously south of the Dolomites, and on the day we visited, a cheese fair had plonked its ripe and oozing self in a square right by the main underground parking lot. Imagine my delight! Italian cheese piled high in stinky piles of beautiful ripeness! Oh unspeakable joy! Oh unbounded rapture! Oh momentary anxiety over the transport of dairy products by plane! Giddy with various edible fungus fumes, I bought:

1. A wedge from a wheel that smelled of old socks and looked as if it had been buried in a burlap bag and left to rot for several months.
2. A slab of gorgonzola so gloopy, blue and melty that it was sliding off the display board and slowly dripping its way to freedom.
3. A small roundel (I think I just made up that use of the word, but it fits) of very stinky goat cheese infused with the juice of a head of garlic, in its own special straw nest.

I did not buy:
1. A chunk of bright yellow Sicilian cheese studded with peppercorns and made with saffron flour, mainly because the stallholder was quite annoyingly insistent on flirting with us and sang very bad Italian pop songs.
2. Some strange stringy stuff with a faint plastic aftertaste.
3. Something with an unpronounceable name, rolled in dead leaves and ashes, because the guy wouldn't let us taste it first.

And then there was the highlight of the Trento Regional Cheese Fair (probably not its real name). That fine spring day, we had the honour of being graced by the presence of none other than Lola, the prize-winning cow. According to her nicely hand-lettered sign this fine speciman of bovinehood had presented her proud owners with 14 calves (ooof) and vast quantities of milk, as a consequence of which said owners were forever grateful and prepared to say it in painting on a wooden board decorated with flowers.
Not only that, but Lola's supreme conformation and top quality milk production had endeared her so much to some judges not a million miles away from the secret alpine headquarters of the Federazione Provinciale Allevatori di Trento, that she was designated "Queen of the Mountains" and given a very large shiny bell to prove it. Lucky, lucky Lola.


Tricky said...

Lola does *not* disappoint.

I am also intrigued and amazed by the natural sculptures. They look amazing.

Suisan said...

Is Lola in retirement after 14 calves? (I'm hoping that twins run in the family.)

Nice Bell.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately, the snow was falling here yesterday, too. It's APRIL, but apparently the gods aren't listening.
love, Death

PS Oh how I wish I hadn't become lactose intolerant; reading your post made me weep.

Beth said...

Great. Now I have to go buy cheese.

Bookwormom said...

Cheese = yummy

14 offspring??

Loved the tree cathedral

EvilAuntiePeril said...

tricky, you really must visit the natural sculptures if you get a chance - they are aMAZing.

suisan, i hope so too - even if they were twins. oof.

Death, i weep for your lactose intolerance. there is no proper non-dairy substitute for cheese, however you doctor your tofu. i've tried.

beth, cheese is your friend. you must buy more cheese.

bookwormom, i only wish my picture could do the tree cathedral justice - it really is beautiful, and i'd love to go back in the summer to see it then.