The Butter and Cheese of the Alta Langa
One skilled artisan in Alta Langa: Carla Occelli of Cuneo, Alta Langa, distributes dairy products imbued with unique regional quality all over Italy.
Welcome to Bossolasca, a town situated at a high altitude in Cuneo province, Alta Langa. It is here that dairy artisan Carla Occelli and her company produce high-quality butter and cheese. Operating under the brand name I segreti di Carla or “The secrets of Carla”, the company is situated in an ideal environment for making butter. Sitting 1,800m above sea level and perfect for fermenting cheese, it has also expanded its production to the signature Piedmont cheese Castelmagno. Fresh seasonal ingredients are added and sourced according to traditional methods, which earned Carla Occelli and her company an award for “artisan excellence” (Italian: eccellenza artigiana) of Piedmont in 2006.
High Quality Alta Langa Butter and Cheese
The high quality of the butter and cheese begins with the fresh milk sourced from cows reared in Cuneo, in accordance with PDO guidelines. In order to produce castelmagno cheese, it matures best at high altitudes, and so the milk is hauled up to a special production area. Aside from the traditional castelmagno, they also produce over twenty different varieties of fresh seasonal cheese, such as “Toma al Raschera” and “Bra al Castelmagno. Market sales are made up of traditional mature cheese at 30-40%, butter at 40%, with fresh cheese making up the remainder. Through various distribution channels, the produce of “The secrets of Carla” finds its way from Northern Italy all the way to Campagna in the south and to the island of Sicily. It even finds its way to France, Belgium and the US through export channels.
The Pride of Italian Butter
Through fresh milk sourced from the valley of Cuneo, Carla Occelli produces just over 4 tonnes of butter week after week. The butter sourced from cows grazing on fresh grass in summer is a rich yellow, with milk from cows fed on dried fodder in winter turning the butter a white hue. It is characterised by a prominent, fresh creamy smell. Aside from butter, they produce a renowned fresh cheese “Murazzano DOP”, as well as cheese incorporating quince or cherry jam, herbs, cocoa powder, coffee, truffles and Barolo wine. There are also the soft cheeses “Cuore di Castelmagno” (The Heart of Castelmagno) and “Bruss di Langa”. While they produce some 12000 batches of cheese every year, it is perhaps the “Castelmagno DOP” which deserves the most recognition.