Vanni Micolini, member of the Livestock Owners’ Association of Friuli Venezia Giulia, narrates the events taking place at the Malga Montasio (Montasio Alpine hut) regarding genuine tastes and old traditions.
Where do the Malga Montasio find place?
On the Montasio Plateau. From Chiusaforte, in the province of Udine, you continue crossing the bridge on the Fella River, forward Sella Nevea. From here, follow indications for the Montasio Plateau and Alpine huts. This is the largest area in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region designated for pasture, and in the period from June to the second half of September it hosts about 250 animals of 40 farmers residing in 25 different municipalities of Friuli.
Which are the next events at Malga Montasio?
12 August is dedicated to an excellent pairing: “Polente e Formadi Montasio” (Polenta and Montasio Cheese), event realized in collaboration with Gruppo Tutela Antica Polenta di Fauglis (Group for the Protection of Traditional Polenta of Fauglis). On this occasion, you will have the chance to taste Fresh Montasio PDO-from 60 up to 120 days of aging-, Mezzano (semi-mature)-from 5 up to 10 months of aging-, and Stagionato (mature)-over 10 months of aging-. Then, 2 September, the Municipality of Chiusaforte organizes a musical appointment “Tasting Montasio…in concert”. On the same date, in collaboration with ERSA, there will be the meeting with star chefs in the field of the project MADE. Chefs will be committed in preparing gourmet courses based on Montasio cheese. 9 September the “Transhumance Festival”, a unique occasion to admire cows embellished with crowns of flowers grazing. This is an old tradition preserved by breeders to thank for the positive trend of the pasture season, which ends with the cows reaching the valley. The event is organized in collaboration with the Cooperativa Malghesi della Carnia e Val Canale (Association of Alpine huts’ Owners of Carnia and Val Canale), it includes the degustation of a large variety of products from the mountain, among them Montasio PDO. Accordions will bright up the event. In fact, 9 September, the fourth Alpe Adria Accordion’s Festival will take place in the Malga. Besides these appointments, the Montasio Plateau is a perfect place for trekking and hiking. The Malga offers a home-cooked cuisine including tasty traditional dishes, for example frico with Montasio PDO, homemade cakes, along with the possibility of staying overnight in one of the 5 rooms with view of the mountains.
Do they organize educational activities in the Malga?
Of course, thanks to the fact that here it is possible to have an overview of the whole production chain: from pasture, to milking, cheese processing in the dairy and sale of the products in the food shop. Recently, we have hosted a group of 120 children from Udine. They followed a guided tour through the different subsequent phases, trying to understand, in concrete terms, the concept of “production chain”.
What do you like most of your work?
On behaf of the Livestock Owners’ Association of Friuli Venezia Giulia I cooperate in managing the Malga Montasio and organizing events that occur here. The thing I like most of working in the mountain is being outdoor, in contact with animals. One of the main objectives of my activity is to maintain alive traditions handling them down to new generations. Besides that, I am particularly interested in animals’ health. On the Montasio Plateau, cows can graze free and their milk mirrors the quality of their lives, therefore, cheese as well. Here they produce the best Montasio PDO Product of the Mountain: this cheese contains raw milk collected, processed and ages (for at least 60 day) above 600 meters of altitude. It is a natural product with a unique taste: an authentic culinary heritage that challenges flavors’ standardization.