University of Gastronomic Sciences Students on Stage to Discover Raviggiolo Cheese and Romagnola Cows
In the Apennines between Romagna and Tuscany, hosted by the Mountain Communities of Aquacheta and the Forlivese Apennines
Kenya, Turkey, Canada, Greece, Switzerland, the United Kingdom,
Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States and Italy: these
are the nationalities of the first-year students of the University of
Gastronomic Sciences, different cultures brought together by a uniting
passion to study the gastronomic heritage of Italy and the world.
These future specialists in food and wine aren’t just studying theory,
but also come into direct contact with food products through stages,
field trips and visits to producers.
These unique educational opportunities transform the student from spectator to actor, bringing them to the producers so they can learn the production processes from them . These trips give them the skills that will enable them to analyze a food in depth as well as understand its history.
The students will visit many different destinations where they will learn about many different production models. Often, the stages will take them to places that are little-known to the general public, to learn about products that are unheard of by most consumers.
From February 21-24, 2006, the first-years will be hosted by the
mountain communities of Aquacheta and the Forlivese Apennines. These
communities are made up of towns on the border between Tuscany and
Romagna. Aquacheta comprises Dovadola, Modigliana, Portico e S.
Benedetto, Rocca S. Casciano and Tredozio, while the Folivese Apennines
includes Civitella di Romagna, Galeata, Meldola, Predappio,
Premilcuore and Santa Sofia.
There is much history in this still-unspoilt area, which in the past was part of
the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It boasts great natural
beauty as well as a rich cultural and gastronomical heritage, closely
tied to the local agriculture. The stage here will have two primary
focal points: Raviggiolo cheese and Romagnola cows. A visit to the
chocolatier Modigliantica, specializing in a traditional recipe which
combines chocolate, almonds and spices, will provide a sweet finish.
The Romagnola is one of the oldest breeds of cow in Italy, and takes its name
from the region to which it is indigenous, Romagna. The students will
visit farms and learn about the breeding and raising of the cows.
From 1953 to the present day the Romagnola cow population has fallen
from half a million to around 15,000. This drastic reduction is a
result of a switch of emphasis in farming towards intensive agriculture
and fruit growing. To try and avoid a possible extinction, Slow Food
set up a Presidium, drafting a series of guidelines for the raising of
the breed, and uniting a group of farmers willing to participate in a
project that also required complete traceability of the production
Another typical product of the Apennines between Tuscany and Romagna
is Raviggiolo, also a Slow Food Presidium. The Presidium was created to
help safeguard the local production of this raw milk cheese and to
distinguish it from the cheese of the same name produced on the Tuscan
side of the mountains.
Presidium Raviggiolo has a buttery consistency, and is produced only
in the valleys of this area. References to this historic cheese have
been found from as far back as 1515. Even now the raw milk is collected
only from certain dairies, and because it doesn’t keep well, the cheese
is available only between October and March.
Students will follow all the phases of production of Raviggiolo:
from the raw materials to the production process, the regulations that
govern its production, and sales and marketing. Experts from the
Aquacheta Mountain Community will explain the history and traditions of
the area, the market for the cheese, cheesemaking and distribution
problems, and the promotion of the area through local foods. They will
also accompany the students on visits to various farms (both
traditional and organic) and cheesemakers.