That of Beppino Occelli’s is a very personal story characterised by a fine taste intuitions, projects and satisfactions, but also sacrifices and misunderstandings due to a mentality and a way of life imposed by the industrial logic and the cultural pauperisation of the countryside and of the mountains. Beppino Occelli has always fought against this homologation tendency and he proposes new creations and interpretations, which were born from his deep love for his native land: the Langhe and the Alps. He was born in 1948, his father was a butcher and his mother a shorthand teacher; his grandfather held markets all around Italy. Beppino Occelli, after a brief parenthesis as employee at the Sip company, he left the economic stability to dream about new and far away horizons in his cousin’s small food shop. His dreams came true and already at the time his ideas foreshadowed that he would become one of the most important Italian producers in the handcraft dairy sector.
A story dedicated to the tireless research of the excellence
Since 1976, Beppino Occelli’s butter and cheeses have followed the taste evolution, and in some cases they have even been ahead of times: from the famous “Tuma dla paja”, awarded in New York with the “Fancy food” Oscar as the best cheese; to the “Escarun”, considered an extraordinary example of the Italian dairy art. The passion for the local dairy traditions, along with creativity, inspired him to produce a large quantity of cheeses which are really appreciated by the “gourmets” from all over the world. In the cheese factory located in Farigliano, a small lab in the Langhe, there is the forge of the most famous “jewels” of Beppino Occelli’s collection. Here are produced only exclusive specialties some of those, such as the “Cusié”, mature and age for a long time in the ancient cellars of Valcasotto, to create the “Gran riserva” of Beppino Occelli. He works on intense tastings and flavours to obtain new and fine specialties. His cheeses flavours give interesting pairings which create curious and surprising flavours.
Among those we can mention the “Occelli al Barolo”, gold medal to the 2015-2016 World cheese awards”, a prestigious international contest dedicated to the excellence of cheese and organised in Bretagne; then we cannot forget the best “drunken cheese” in Italy according to Slow Food, This is a hard texture cheese made with cow’s milk, aged in the marc with Barolo Aocg wine, which gives to the product the complexity of its perfumes, creating a cheese perfect for tastings experiences.
A special mentions has been given to the “Occelli con frutta e grappa di Moscato” (Occelli with fruits and Moscato grappas), an extraordinary cheese, produced with goat’s and cow’s milk. Beppino created it in 2011, to celebrate the 150° anniversary of the Italian Unification, adding candied Sicilian fruits and Moscato grappas, which valorise its organoleptic bouquet. How can we not to talk about the “Occelli in foglie di castagno”, a hard texture cheese, seasoned for a year and half? The forms the aged in chestnut leaves, which give to the cheese a special and intense taste. Its unique and extraordinary taste has been awarded by a prestigious Italian magazine, that elected the “Occelli foglie di castagno” the winner of the “Gusto” category in the “Prodotto food 2016”, among more than 200 products.
If we ask Beppino Occelli what is his favourite cheese, he replies: “If I have to be honest, there is no one to whom I am more fond of; each cheese responds to a particular and different taste need”.
Beppino Occelli’s butter: absolute quality
This love story begun in the ‘70s and Beppino conserves special memories about it: “I learned to make the butter during the night”, he tells, after a year, he had already founded a small butter company – “and to chill it, I used ice blocks I bought inBra“.
A long time has passed and today the production of this butter, that has been defined as «the best in the world» by the “Wine Spectator” and as ‘the Best butter in Europe’ by “The Guardian”, is solid and it is projected to the future. A unique product, obtained from the centrifugation of the best Italian skimmed creams only. Each stick of butter is handcrafted, as well as in the past, with the help of traditional moulds, which valorise the mountain symbols and evoke the genuineness of the farmers dairies.
The “Borgo del gusto” and the seasoning cellars in Valcasotto
The “Milky way” was born in the Langhe and arrived in Valcasotto, a small mountain borough located near Pamparato. A magic place where to discover the value of the silence and hospitality. Here the mountain cheeses, thanks to the constant care of the seasoning masters, are left to repose and mature for a long time on wood axes, which contribute to the development of the taste and enrich the structure. The seasoning in Valcasotto is inspired to the ancient tradition of the Maritime Alps which has been handed down from almost a century: here the Langhe and Cuneo valleys cheeses find their ideal cradle.
In the dark of these cellars, so, the time works along with air and water, to age the cheeses maturation, while seasoning experts turn periodically the forms, massaging and taking care of them until the day when they will be ready to be eaten. At the end of the seasoning process, the best forms are “awarded” moving in smaller cellars for the ageing. It follows a long period, which lasts many months, during that cheeses are immersed in a special microclimate and got in contact with twelve different types of wood, which help the developments of noble white, pink, orange and greenish mold.
“Locanda del mulino”: to enjoy every second of unicity
The “Locanda del mulino” is finely furnished, it overlooks the all-around wonderful mountains and the borough; it hosts also a restaurant with large rooms and a terrace. Inside the gourmets can find the best dishes of the territory, created using genuine raw materials. Here Mrs. Alessandra with the help of her husband, takes care of the costumers with extremely professionalism, offering a wide range of cheeses produced by Beppino Occelli along with many other natural specialties of the valley. The cheese is not only a food: it is history, art and culture; it is an excuse to spend time together and share sensorial and emotional experiences. Our journey with the Beppino Occelli’s flavours ha could not have ended better.
Occelli’s “Goodness” at the “Central Market”
After Rome and Florence, the “Central Market” lands also in Turin. In the particular frame of Porta Palazzo there is also a nice shop of the “King of butter and of the Langhe cheeses”, a very suggestive space full of goodness with a corner dedicated to the reproduction of the ageing cellars of Valcasotto.