Furmàcc, furmai, formai are all dialect words for “cheese” used in the Alpine valleys in and around Lombardy. Furmàcc del féen is not just a name, but a declaration: cheese of/from the hay (fieno in Italian), emphasizing how much the quality of the milk and the resulting cheese are determined by the hay and grass the cows have fed on.

Throughout the Valtellina and in its tributary valleys, from the Val Chiavenna and the Val di Lei to the west (following the course of the Adda River) and to the east as far as the Stelvio and Livigno, it is traditional to distinguish the production of summer cheeses, made from the milk of cows feeding on rotationally grazed high-mountain pastures, and the winter cheeses made lower down in the valleys. This distinction relates to much more than just when and where the cheeses are made.

In the 100 days up in the mountains, full-fat milk is used to make cheeses known as grasso d’alpe, with various local names, such as Storico Ribelle, or Historic Rebel, another Slow Food Presidium. Down in the valleys, skimmed milk is used to make a semi-fat or low-fat cheese known as latteria. The cheesemaking process is not very different — we are in the category of semi-cooked curd cheeses. The summer production is associated with the by-product mascherpa, a kind of ricotta, while in the winter the fat skimmed off the milk is used for butter. This is the case for Furmàcc del féen, produced down in the valleys in the winter, primarily by the Historic Rebel cheesemakers but also throughout the rest of the province of Sondrio.

The semi-firm cheese, produced in forms weighing between 5 and 10 kilos and 5 to 8 centimeters high, is aged for a minimum of 50 days, though the aging can easily be extended when the cheeses are stored in natural aging rooms with the right temperature and humidity levels.
This mountain cheese from the valley floor is distinguished by its versatility in the kitchen. It is perfect with sciatt, typical buckwheat fritters, as well as in taroz, mashed potatoes with beans or green beans with butter and cheese, and can also join or replace its richer high-mountain cousins in the most symbolic dish of these valleys, pizzoccheri, buckwheat pasta typically served with cabbage, potatoes and cheese.

Contacts

Phone:+39 0342 690081

Info

via Nazionale, 31
23010 Gerola Alta (SO)
Italia

This Presidium was established to support the mountain cheesemakers who have chosen to follow a very specific path, that of consistency.
Consistency in the choice of hardy breeds, like the original Bruna Alpina; consistency in feeding their animals, whether in the mountain pastures or in the valley cowsheds, with local hay and grass; and consistency in relying on local microflora instead of opting for the easy standardization of selected industrial starter cultures.

Produced in greater quantities than its big brothers from up in the mountain pastures, Furmàcc del féen is a more common and everyday cheese, but still of very high quality. This key to this quality is in the name: féen, which refers to the careful choice of animals and grass, as well as traditional cheesemaking skill.

Production area
Sondrio province, Lombardy region

Stagionalità
Sondrio province, Lombardy region

Producers

Producers are joined in the Consorzio Salvaguardia Bitto – Storico Ribelle, Gerola Alta (So), Via Nazionale 31, Tel. +39 0342 690081 / +39 334 3325366, info@storicoribelle.com, www.storicoribelle.com

Last modified: 03 Dec 2021
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