Updated: Jul 18, 2021
Back in 2018, our sensational Airbnb hosts Sergio and Selena invited us to join them on their cheese shopping excursion. Oh what a day! We would never have discovered L’Avvenire Biological Farm without them.
It lies in hidden splendour at Frazione Casanova in Terricciola. The village of Casanova was built between 1200 and 1300 and it’s like stepping back in time. The farm believes in rediscovering traditions of the past and their cheese is aged in underground cellars of stone and brick. They also make other products like olive oil and grape juice.
The house and cellars
L’Avvenire was originally a monastery and a hospital for pilgrims in the Middle Ages. The walls are massively thick and the deep and ventilated cellars perfect for ageing cheeses. A small rail track runs through the cellars which gives you some idea of the size of the building. Rob found it impossible to capture the building’s exterior in one camera shot because it is so wide and high.
Most of the cows are from a breed called Pezzata Rossa. We don’t know anything much about cows but we fell in love with the L’Avvenire gang. They were quiet and friendly with beautiful faces. The farm does not use industrial products or derivatives and feed the herd from hay and alfalfa they grow themselves. They say they get less milk production but that the quality is infinitely better. If the cheeses we bought are examples, they are right!
A feature of this farm is that they still use the old animal shelters. It is like stepping into a childhood story book as you meet cows, dogs, geese, chickens busily going about their day. Ros had to be dragged away from this area before she tried to take the geese home with her.
The L’Avvenire cheeses are sensational. We were lucky enough to watch some of the making, including ricotta processing. The work is labour intensive and done with extreme care and passion. Hard cheeses at different stages of maturation are available, as well as soft cheeses that are fresh and luscious.
On our dining table
We had to remember we were eating for two because we wanted to buy everything. As well as a hard sheep’s cheese and hard cow’s cheese, we bought a container of soft milky cheese. It may have been tomini but our poor Italian language skills mean we are not sure. Perhaps one of our readers knows? It tasted a bit like a cross between feta and ricotta and we loved it. You can eat it plain or it is delicious mixed with olive oil, oregano, pepper and olives.
Some of the best travel experiences are the unexpected. The excursion to L’Avvenire Organic Farm was a glimpse into traditional Italian agricultural making and a huge and memorable treat.