When I first met Enrica from Cervelli fuori little did I know that I would be meeting a young woman whose family has been raising dairy cows since the 1600s in Italy. Her family owns and operates Cascina Fontanacervo, a high-quality, small dairy just a 30 minute drive outside of Turin in the town of Villastellone. Having recently co-authored a dairy article for the International Women’s Club of Torino, I thought why not see if it would be possible to interview Enrica’s father and get right down to the source. He graciously invited me to come visit the farm and in the process, I met some of the most gentlest and curious of dairy cows.
Fontanacervo has two breeds of cattle: Jersey which originate from Normandy, France and Friesian which originate from Denmark. The combination of these produce a rich and high-quality milk. I was immediately taken with amount of curiosity the cows demonstrated, even by the youngest of them. Enrica’s father explained to us that one can see a part of the well-being of a cow by looking into its eyes. They seemed very contented and were quite social with us. In fact, one of them (number 863 to be exact!) seemed particularly interested in Denis. She kept nudging him with her nose.
One can see the amount of care that is given to these wonderful animals to ensure a tranquil life style. Any sudden or fast movements can scare the animals and for this reason the farm dogs aren’t allowed anywhere near the stalls.
Some breeds are highly susceptible to warm weather and fare better in colder climates. In January, their winter coats are nice and thick, whereas during the summer months their coats will become more compact and shiny. The cows are milked in a separate area to maintain quality control and are well-rested in between milkings; this is one of the many differences between industrial dairies and small dairy producers.
Fontanacervo not only produces artisan milk but also butter, a variety of cheeses, fresh cream, desserts and yogurt without any additives, artificial coloring or preservatives. I am a huge fan of all of their products including the gianduja cream, (made from chocolate, Piedmont hazelnuts and local honey) ricotta, (so delicately light and sweet) and the stracchino which is a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow milk.
So where can you find these quality products in Turin? Their products are sold at Eataly, M**Bun, (menu features Fontanacervo products; then you can pick up a liter of milk after your meal) and in various dairy shops around town. Or, you can buy them directly from their farm shop open Monday through Saturday, 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Via Poirino 7, Villastellone (TO).
Telephone: 011 9619295