iBoğatepe Gravyer and Divle Cave-Aged Cheese: two successful stories of resistance on display at Cheese 2019

Slow Food presents the 12th edition of the world’s premier cheese event in the Italian city of Bra, from September 20-23. This year’s theme: “Natural is Possible”.

In Turkey, the production of some traditional raw-milk cheeses has become legal also thanks to the work of Slow Food and its impact on the relevant national authorities. At Cheese, a whole conference will be dedicated to the story of the Divle Cave-Aged Cheese Presidium, a cheese aged in sheepskin sacks that has gone from being illegal to being recognize as a PDO. In addition, a tasting will highlight the quality of another Turkish Presidium, Boğatepe Gravyer. A recent study has found that thanks to Slow Food in the last four years the production of this cheese has doubled, and that the number of households who receive a consistent part of their income from Gravyer production increased by 91%.iBoğatepe Gravyer and Divle Cave-Aged Cheese: two successful stories of resistance on display at Cheese 2019

Cheese – the international event dedicated to natural cheeses produced with raw milk and without artificial enzymes in sachets, which are thus richer in biodiversity and more authentic expressions of their areas of origin –gathers cheesemakers and exhibitors from more than 30 countries. The last edition in 2017 saw a record 300.000 visitors.

Producers and activists from Turkey, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece will discuss stories of cheesemaking resistance during the conference Cheese in a Sack: A forgotten heritage is back. Cheeses aged in sheepskin sacks probably represent the oldest category of cheeses in the world, and they’re still produced across a vast region from the mountains of Elburz in Iran to the rugged hills of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and particularly in Anatolia. The “cheese in a sack” tradition is increasingly at risk, threatened by the abandonment of pastures, migration to cities and hyper-hygienism. On the other hand, the work carried out by a grand alliance of activists, producers and academics is beginning to bear fruit, for example in the recognition of Divle Cave-Aged Cheese, a Slow Food Presidium, as a PDO. Safeguarding these products and maintaining this tradition which is living testament to cheesemaking history is more important than ever.

iBoğatepe Gravyer and Divle Cave-Aged Cheese: two successful stories of resistance on display at Cheese 2019

“In Turkey, in the past 3 years, the Slow Food network has been part of a tremendous advocacy effort targeting competent authorities to make some traditional raw-milk cheese legal again, and bring them back to the market” – states Dessislava Dimitrova, Slow Food International Councilor for the Balkans and Turkey.

Ilhan Koçulu, coordinator of the Presidium for Boğatepe Gravyer, will be at Cheese 2019. The cheese will be tasted together with Italian Parmigiano Reggiano and US Parish Hill Creamery cheeses during Natural is Possible: Italy, US and Turkey. Boğatepe Gravye comes from the Kars region, which is known throughout Turkey for the quality of its cheeses. The Presidium supports the producers still working in the mountain pastures, helping them to find the right balance between artisanal traditions and the need to follow food-safety legislation. Shepherds from the Presidium can sell their milk at price 25% higher than the average price paid in the rest of Kars province, and they can charge 7-10% more than industrial Gravyer producers for their cheese.

Check the latest updates on the program and book activities.

Apply for press accreditation.

Cheese Press Office

Slow Food – Non-Italian Pressinternationalpress@slowfood.it

Paola Nano (+39 329 8321285); Giulia Capaldi (+39 342 8278485)

Slow Food – Italian Presspress@slowfood.it

Valter Musso (+39 335 7422962); Alessia Pautasso (+39 342 8641029);

Elisa Virgillito (+39 345 2598615)

City of Bra: Elena Martini; Erica Asselle; +39 0172 438278; urp@comune.bra.cn.it

Cheese is organized by the City of Bra and Slow Food with the support of the Piedmont Region. The event has been made possible by the support of companies who believe in the values and objectives of the event, including the Official Partners: Agugiaro&Figna Molini, BBBell, Consorzio di Tutela della Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Dop e Consorzio della Ricotta di Bufala Campana Dop, CR Bra, Egea, Lurisia, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pastificio Di Martino, Quality Beer Academy, Reale Mutua.

Slow Food is a global network of local communities founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions and counteract the rise of fast food culture. Since its founding, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean and fair food. 

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