Since arriving in Rome, I’ve had to work hard to break out of my all too-comfortable college dining habits: a lazy dinner of ramen after a long day of classes, squeezing a group of 10 friends around a table at the local pub and ordering five plates of nachos, or (after six hours of field study and lectures) collapsing into chairs at the pizzeria nearest the Forum, disregarding the fact that we know it’s probably one of Rome’s notorious “tourist traps.”
It’s been a challenge, but every week I force myself to seek out new and exciting dining experiences. And isn’t that the reason food lovers (or anyone for that matter) come to Italy anyway? We want to experience one of the most evolved culinary traditions in the world!
Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi, or as Romans fondly call it, “Beppe,” is just such a place – a refreshingly authentic Italian culinary experience. All of the cheeses offered in the shop are made by the family of Giuseppe Giovale, the owner of the shop and fourth generation cheese maker from Piedmont. The cheeses are hand-crafted using milk from goats, sheep, and cows that the family itself owns. The Giovale family farm is located in the rolling foothills of Italy’s Piedmont region.
At their store in central Rome, you can have a cheese and wine tasting, sit down for a meal made from seasonal ingredients, or simply buy a hunk of cheese and some prosciutto wrapped up to go. Beppe’s is a little slice of the pastoral dream nestled in the heart of the Eternal City, and the proof is in the pudding! Or rather, the cheese.
Together with Beppe, we compiled the following list of three must-try cheeses for any first time visitor to the shop!
1) Giallina – A sweeter cousin of Parmesan, Giallina is a hard cheese made from 100% cow’s milk, and boiled between 30˚-60˚C (a.k.a. semi-pasteurized). The Giallina has larger grains than Parmesan, giving it a different texture. It has all the salty nuttiness of Parmesan, but is sweeter, making it perfectly palatable for a tasting.
2) Robiola Mista – The Robiola Mista is a soft cheese made from goat and sheep’s milk. It’s aged about 30 days to when it reaches its peak of flavor, and is ideally eaten within a week of its maturation. The flavor can vary, based on when the goats and sheep are milked; the slice of Robiola Mista that we tried in September was herbaceous, since the milk had been gathered during the summer, when the goats and sheep were grazing on fresh summer grass and herbs.
3) Erborinato Caprino – Lastly a must for blue cheese fans is this goat’s milk blue with gorgeous flavor. The deep blue-green mold that flecks the cheese has an astonishing effect on the overall taste, turning it earthy, pungent, and tingly. It is described as speziato, which translates to spicy – as in a “spice” such as cardamom – full of pungency and strong flavor. This particular cheese is aged at least 90 days.
These are just a few of the many varieties of cheese that Beppe offers. And you don’t have to stick to the list either! Most of the fun at Beppe’s lies in trying whatever is fresh and new for the season. No two cheeses are the same, making a tasting at Beppe’s a true gastronomic adventure.
For a cheese and wine tasting at Beppe’s, contact us!