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[News from FACE] Brotherhood

The international cheese buffet

Cheeses are undoubtedly formidable storytellers: it’s amazing how many stories they can tell on multiple levels. Immediately the thought goes to those fascinating life stories, with their roots sunk into well-defined terrains, to which they are viscerally linked.

This time is different, it is a story able to overcome national borders, travel times and language barriers, set in the whole Europe (or almost). A story told in unison by over 70 European agricultural and artisanal cheeses of every type and shape, gathered together on a long table in Bohinj, Slovenia.

It is not the story of a dairy competition or even of a market: with the Julian Alps as a backdrop, the representatives of agricultural and artisan cheese from 13 European countries met in the first days of October to discuss the dairy situation and find new dialogue strategies with the European institutions. This is the story of the annual meeting of FACE Network, a European network of small dairy producers with the aim of giving a voice and protecting micro production realities, which to an inattentive eye may seem marginal.

Here once again a magic has took place: a powerful feeling of brotherhood was breathed together with the thousand scents of the cheeses, a frenetic weaving of exchanges between different cultures, smiles, curiosity, sharing of sensory perceptions and an almost religious respect for the work of others.

There were people with a thousand differences of age, origins and backgrounds working together in harmony, with the awareness to be all gathered around that table of wonders for the same fundamental reasons: the urgency of defending an invaluable cultural heritage and, as Kerstin Jürss said, the joy of making cheese with their own hands.  –  7 December 2022