If I were told that some day I would be making cheese, and running a farm, I would have found it quite amusing. Although, looking back now, it is not that odd of a path.
I was born in one of the most renowned gastronomic and culinary centers of Italy. The Emiglia-Romagna region, just north of the Tuscan hills. This is where foods like prosciutto, tortellini, polenta, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, porcini mushrooms and truffles originated. A few years later, my family would relocate to Greece, where all aspects of Mediterranean and Aegean culinary delights entered our daily lives, and as a result of which, left many memorable experiances.
As a young boy, I came to the realization that both cultures hold food and its preparation at the forefront of family life, and also view it as a unifying bond among family members. This gathering place where family and friends would dine on foods created exclusively in the home, served as a departure from the hectic tone of daily life, and provided atmosphere, comfort, joy, and some of the best tasting food around.
It was these recollections that withstood the test of time, and as I grew up in Queens New York and spent a great deal of my life working in Manhattan, I somehow knew that one day I would return to my natural inclination…food. Well, great food.
Today I make cheese based on traditional recipes from my family in Italy and Greece. I also supplement this with the cheese making of Southern France, which I learned during my extensive travels throughout the region. I also taught myself the principles of bee keeping so as to gather honey, basic agriculture in order to harvest organic produce for our family, and make hay for our animals.
I also have a number of related interests within this culinary scope, which tend to supplement my creations, and are currently a major part of our lifestile. I guess I can classify them as hobbies, but they really are a way of life. I enjoy curing meats, baking artisanal bread in my Roman stone hearth oven which I built, drying herbs, making delectable preserves of the harvest, and of course wonderful wine when I can find the time.