Saturday, July 26, 2014

Asiago, Italy

Yesterday, we decided to drive up to Asiago for the afternoon.  We didn't leave until noon and we still had a great day.  It didn't take that long to get there (a little over an hour) and it was absolutely gorgeous.   You drive up into the mountains to get here.  There are 10 large switchbacks (they number them here!)  It was worth it though; we want to come again.  It looks like Austria or Switzerland or the Black Forest of Germany here; and it was much cooler too.
We visited the World War I memorial first.  They have names of all of the Italian soldiers that died up in marble plaques throughout a majestic hall.  It's a very somber place.

Then, we walked around the town, looking for lunch.  Most things were closed until dinnertime, though.  And a lot of stores were just closed, I think for the upcoming August holiday.  It started pouring down rain, so we ran back to our car and just drove.  In a neighboring town we found a restaurant that cooked pizza for us, even though it was a weird time (2:30pm) and nobody else was eating.  It was some of the best pizza we've had here, and the family running the restaurant were super friendly!  I had to get an Asiago cheese pizza with another local specialty, Asiago Speck (a kind of cured ham, like proscuitto).  And.... I kind of ate the whole thing.  My kids got plain Asiago cheese pizzas, or sausage.  Everyone ate a ton.  (Walking around the empty town of Asiago searching for food for over an hour probably helped..... lol.)
The owners of Waister Trattoria were SO friendly and helpful; in their limited English and our super limited Italian, we asked where we could go to see a cheese factory.  We couldn't find anything on our GPS or our phones.  The owners are actually friends with someone who owns a small-batch cheese factory!!  So they gave us directions, and we went there after eating.  It turned out to be even more awesome than we had hoped for.
Here is the cheese for sale in the shop.  They also had fresh ricotta, mascarpone, drinkable yogurt, butter, and other cheeses for sale.  (We bought Asiago, fresh mascarpone, and berry drinkable yogurt.... all delish.)

We asked if we could ever see them making cheese, and they said they do it early in the morning.  They must have seen our disappointment, because they offered to take us downstairs to the little factory and show us around!!  We were so excited; we took a lot of pics.  They are below.

Fresh, "new" cheese, both photos above.  Cheese aging in the cold storage room, two pics below.

After we had our fill of the factory and the cheese room, we went upstairs to look at the products for sale again, and bought what we wanted (the cheese we bought is pictured below- aged 6 months).  Then we asked to see the cows in the barn across the parking lot, and we were free to wander around in there before driving home.
The kids were excited to see cows again; we haven't seen any since the Azores.  The Italians move the cows up to the mountains in the summer and bring them down in the winter (I think).
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Debbie Carter said...

Sounds like a great day!

LadyJayPee said...

What a wonderful experience!