11 July, 2013

The Yogurt Fell from Heaven - Visit to Azienda Agricola Zoff,

Culture. Culture. Culture.  In my recent exploration of the wine regions of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, that one word in three contexts proved delightful.  Viticulture.  Yum.  Arts and culture. Awesome.  But another of the contexts is yogurt and by extension, all things dairy.  In college I did an internship in Switzerland, and every since then have been hooked like a meth head junkie on all things European dairy.  If you haven't experienced the creamy, wholesome deliciousness of dairy products that transcend this world.  Well, okay our normal US world, then just another reason to add FVG (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia) onto your bucket list.
Agritourism is a growing field as we travellers look to connect with the land and seek out adventure beyond the "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium/Let's run through the Cairo museum in 45 min/Art/Culture/Souvenir" pit stops that can sucker you into trying to see everything. Newsflash. By trying not to miss anything, you miss a lot.  Agritourism is a way to reverse that and stop time for a second to savor an experience.
Visiting Azienda Agricola Zoff was definitely a moment to savor in all its contexts.  The stars of the show are the Pezzata Rosso cows that deliver the rich milk that Beppino Zoff and his team convert to wonderful cheeses, butter and best of all yogurt.  The Zoffs have been making cheeses for 15 years as a way of using the raw milk from their adorably delicious cows. They have been raising cows for three generations. Originally, a dairy, they found they could be more successful making the milk into products. We tried several cheeses ranging from fresh to aged for 4 months.  
Caciotta: A fresh cheese that they served both plain, flavored with rose petals and flavored with thyme.  Some other flavors available are elderflower, peppermint, mallow, marigold, sage, rosemary and basil. After 10 days, the fat on the outside of the cheese creates a matrix that is perfect to accept these floral/herbal flavor enhancements. 
Latteria: They served us two selections with different aging.  We noticed a huge difference between 4 days and 60 days.  The aged cheese had nuttier flavors and a deeper richness to its textures. Both were delicious 
But what completely blew us away was the yogurt.  Fresh, creamy, sweetened with caramel.  If any had fallen on the floor I would have licked it up it was that good.  And because each gram contains 1,5 billion probiotic organisms, it's actually an amazing treat that is good for you.  Beppino charmed us with his energy and how he put his passion on the plate.  As he told us, cheese lets you experience not just the terroir, but the culture as well.  Artisanal methods Zoff uses connect you both to that land and to the old ways.  

Azienda Agricola Zoff also has a 5 room guesthouse you can book. More information here

You get the yogurt for breakfast.   They call it "paradise in a jar"  and they are not exaggerating.  I came back with a monkey on my back for the Special "Y".  Glad to say after several bouts of yogurt making, I duplicated the texture more or less and found that Trader Joe Caramel sauce came pretty close to matching the caramel goodness.  Tasty probiotic goodness.  When they invent the Star Trek replicators, it's the first thing I am ordering

To visit:
Farm Zoff Joseph - Farm Borg OCJS 
34071 Via Parini, 18 - Borgnano Cormons (GO) 
CF. ZFF GPP 55P06 D014L PI 00457350312 
Tel. / Fax. +39.0481.67204 - +39.340.3619874 
Email: info@borgdaocjs.it

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