Marika is well aware that vacation means outdoor activities for her family and husband. One of the reasons she married him was because of this.
Since she was a child, she had admired her father’s image of an adventurous man, capable of overcoming adversity with a cheerful demeanor, perhaps for the journey through the Montasio’s malghe, from Chiusaforte to the Giacomo di Brazzà refuge was a bit much for a first day of exploring the Val Arba nature reserve.
Sara wasn’t complaining, but Samuel was getting tired and disheartened, so he stopped asking how much was missing from the shelter.
– Perhaps we should go back… – Marika murmured, concerned.
– We’re almost there; just a few more steps and we’ll arrive at the refuge! Marco exclaimed, his usual smile on his face.
The sight of the house drew Samuel’s interest as he walked past everyone to get to the benches where he could sit while the adults stared out the window.
At the refuge, you could enjoy local specialties, and the manager suggested starting with cold cuts and mountain cheeses.
– I like cheese, but I’m lactose intolerant… – Marco explained.
– Don’t worry, the Montasio cheese produced in the malga is excellent, even for lactose intolerant people, and has so many good qualities for growth and health that it gives you enough energy to go around the huts twice.
The manager of the refuge explained that Montasio cheese is highly valued because, in ancient times, the breeders of neighboring villages drove their cows to the mountain huts, which were the best place for grazing despite being difficult to reach.
The cows are free to roam and are not confined to the enclosure all day, allowing them to breathe in the fresh mountain air and tender mountain herbs.
They produced exquisite milk for the calves and their owners under those conditions, a raw material for making cheeses and dairy specialties rich in calcium, proteins, and vitamins and with very low, if any, lactose concentrations.
– Do cows still graze in this area? Asked Samuel after eating his share of Montasio cheese as well as his father’s.
– Yes, you’ll find them when you get to the huts.
In fact, they discovered them grazing in a calm and peaceful manner, perfectly integrated with the profiles and slopes of Montasio.
Samuel had never seen them up close; he imagined them in a stable in the middle of the flat fields.
– They are nice because they allow themselves to be caressed! Samuel yelled.
– Yes, but please avoid making sudden movements that startle them! –
– All right! –
Marika thought she should have named him Peter, after Heidi’s friend, because he was so lively, with red cheeks and her father’s smile on his face.