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Economía Local Uncategorised

CHEESES LA BALDA, CARE AND LOVE FOR GOOD CHEESES

CHEESES LA BALDA, CARE AND LOVE FOR GOOD CHEESES

In the Vall de Llémena (“Llémena Valley”), located in La Garrotxa, Pablo Garcia makes high-quality cheese from raw cows’ milk. He collaborates with livestock farmers who are near him to ensure the use of organic, freshly milked milk in his cheeses, and therefore, keep all its infinite good properties. The fact of working with raw milk gives the cheeses a more enhanced flavour, because it has bacterial flora from the environment where the cows are bred. And the most important thing is that the cows are calm, they let the farmers milk them, because animal welfare is basic and principal to get good cheeses.

For Pablo, making cheese has always been his passion. First, it was a hobby for him, and then finally it became his profession, and he has been fully committed to his business. Initially trained in his country, he was able to put into practice all his knowledge acquired at Torre Marimon in an intensive course, in Ardèche, and later in the Abondance valley, in France (in the French Alps). 

He is making three kinds of cheese at the moment: the Fermió, the Golany (both soft paste cheeses) and the Baldat (which is a mature cheese). The first cheese comes in a small format, with a mouldy rind and a lactic character, and it is presented in the shape of a plain cylinder with rounded corners. The rind, which is natural, is homogeneously covered with a white-ivory mould layer which is completely edible, and which also provides an important part of the cheese organoleptic richness. 

The Golany has a mixed rind (mouldy-clean) which is edible. Made with vegetable rennet, it is a square-shaped piece with a creamy texture which, as it matures, it can melt. It has a complex flavour between the aromatic strength of the rind and the elegant and balanced notes of the paste. 

And the Baldat, inspired by the large format maturing cheeses which are typical in the Alps, where they have plenty of milk. A Gruyere cheese made in big pieces of 12 or 20 kg which matures slowly in a drying room, and which is matured on a weekly basis with water saturated with salt. The rind is created with this erosion effect. The elastic paste gets brittle, and its colour may change depending on the feeding of the livestock. 

The cheese factory La Balda makes part of the traditional cheese producers that we can find in Catalonia, a market which is in full expansion. In his workroom they follow the cheese traditions from here and there, increasing the diversity of traditional cheeses made with raw milk. 

Thank you very much, Pablo, for receiving us and welcoming us so warmly.

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Economía Local Uncategorised

OLI DEL RAIG, OUR OLIVE OIL

OLI DEL RAIG - FIRST PRESSED OLIVE OIL

In Priorat, olive growing has been present for many years, along with vine and nuts growing, which are the Mediterranean cultivations par excellence. Olive oil production has become one of the main cultivations, with a clear trend towards integrated and eco-friendly cultivation methods and systems.

Olive oil is considered to be the golden elixir, because of all its nutritional properties. It is the basis of the Mediterranean diet, and an authentic delicacy for our palate and our health. It contains mainly oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid which lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol levels in your body. Besides, it is rich in vitamins E and K; the first one is an antioxidant par excellence, and the second one, a natural protector of the brain neurons. Olive oil also contains carotenoids (precursors of vitamin A, and antioxidant too), phytosterols (structures similar to cholesterol which help to lower its content in blood) and polyphenols (with a great antioxidant capacity).

In Mas Martinet, we have always used olive oil, basically for family consumption. But, for four years now, we have bottled some olive oil to invite our visits to try it. The main olive variety is the arbequina, which is the most common variety in the region too, and which also produces an oil which is really appreciated for its excellent organoleptic properties of a delicate, smooth, and slightly sweet aroma. Our olive trees live together with the vines, being taken care of and treated with minimal intervention, following the same philosophy which characterises us.

The olive harvest is carried out during the winter months, usually soon after finishing the grape harvest. In our case, it usually takes place in November. It is a manual harvest, as could not be otherwise. We carry the harvested olives, in boxes of approximately 12 kg. each one, to an oil mil in Bellmunt that works with small productions to ensure the highest quality and respect to the fruit that is being processed.

The olive oil that we manually bottle in the winery is an oil made from the juice which has been let to stand so that the remaining volatile microparticles of the olive settle to the bottom in the shape of dregs. In other words, it is an olive oil obtained exclusively through mechanical processes, from the first cold pressing (under 27º) on the same day of the harvest, so we keep all its properties. Then, we keep the oil in a tank which is always full, at a controlled temperature, to achieve a good decantation that removes to the greatest extent possible the impurities and the solid matter that it may contain. Olive oils produced this way have a more intense flavour, and they keep their nutritional properties intact. After letting the olive oil stand, we bottle it depending on the needs in order to ensure its quality.

You won’t find this olive oil in stores, but you can taste it during our wine tourism experience

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