The Last Shepherd

Renato Zucchelli is the last pastor left in a metropolis. He has a dream: to bring his flock to the inaccessible center of the city to meet the children who have never seen his sheep, showing them that freedom and dreams will always be possible until there is space to believe in a last shepherd … who conquered the city with his flock and by the sheer force of his imagination.

Renato Zucchelli and others like him are not a fairy tale. (Renato is a genuine shepherd) They are the last shepherds, who continue to move their flocks among residential neighborhoods, cement, concrete mixers and palaces. This transhumance is a way of life in danger of extinction.

TRAILER: ‘El último pastor’ a film by Marcus Bonfanti an extraordinary document about those unsung warriors, of the lonely days living at the indifference of mankind.

 

 

 

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I ♥ Chicks and Cheese

I’m in touch with my feminine side. I think. My 4 sisters impressed this upon me, I’m the only boy. Now a man child, I’m still dismayed with my gender. Not to say that I’m considering a change no no. I just think ladies rule & guys are generally retarded. See: Cheesemonger Photoshoot I rest my case.

So I find myself knocking on the clubhouse door of the Official Circle Girls Cheese –  Les Filles à Fromages - a new group for women gathered to celebrate cheese. Awesome. Piss. Up. In. A. Brewery. With. Cheese. Women of New Zealand, consider a South Pacific chapter of this circle? I’ll pimp your gig with cheese. \m/

The curator at work at Du Fromage & Des Putes issues a disclaimer if offence taken at the hundreds of images of random chicks & cheese. Pretty weird, but good fun too. A fun spin on centrefolds printed in Culture Cheese Mag if the editor had a slow news day?

I’m a long time fan of The From’ Girls calendar from Fromages de Terroirs. In years past the girls have managed to piss off the bored and titillate geeks like me with their cheese. They’ve just released the 2014 calendar – the girls are getting jiggy in restaurants across Paris…

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Cheesemonger photoshoot

Cheese folks getting their their kit off sells cheese. The annual efforts of the From’ Girls are perhaps the most appreciated form of this art. I stumbled into the lads equivalent…

PS. While I love getting my kit off, I was clothed for my photoshoot. I’d rather folks taste the cheese.

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Chinese Cheese

I am a devotee of google. Gone are the days of being on a first name basis with my library team and having ‘my spot’ to sit & bury my nerdy head in Asterix books. All hail solo OCD information gathering pursuits! Besides, I can’t find any library books or written material about Chinese cheese. Many a cheese book largely ignores China, dismissing this HUGE population as lactose intolerant cheese surrender monkeys that don’t like the smell of cheese. That & it’s highly unlikely I’ll get to visit China anytime soon, reckon they can (and will) visit me instead. Guess I could pay for the trip smuggling infant milk formula in there to trade for traditional Chinese cheese? I’d love a Chinese cheese mule. This is both another contribution in English to setting the Chinese cheese record straight, and a scrapbook of my Chinese itchy travel feet using my google skills as my guide. :-)

The internets say…

Cheeses made in northern China generally have a heavy, rich flavor, where those from the south are milker and have some similarities with Italian cheeses.

In the old Chinese days, cheese was associated with barbarian cultures so it was avoided.

Chinese tend to avoid uncooked foods, so alot of traditional Chinese cheeses are eaten cooked.

LE FROMAGER de PEKIN -The Cheese Maker of Beijing – gets a notable mention here as a new world cheesemaker. This is about the traditional old world Chinese cheeses that have been made & enjoyed by the Chinese since ages ago…

The cheeses…

Ru shan – The Mozzarella of the East

A cow milk cheese made in the grasslands of Yunnan by the Bai people. Ru shan means milk fan, referring to the shape of a fan. It is eaten either raw with sugar or  grilled or deep-fried.  To make it, fresh cow milk is warmed in a wok, then the curdling agent suan jiang is added. The curds are then removed, worked with the fingers and finally stretched over a bamboo frame to dry. See the video below to see it being made!

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Imperial Court Cheese

A pudding served in a bowl made from cow milk & rice wine, it’s reported to have a balanced, sweet & sour taste. Is sometimes topped with raisins and melon seeds.

There was no herding in the plains around Beijing, so starting in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) Mongol emperors in Beijing introduced cheese from Mongolia. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), imperial chefs changed the recipe by adding wine made from glutinous rice to cows’ milk. The milk is mixed with wine, baked in an oven and cooled until it curdles.

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Daliang Buffalo Cheese

The cheese’s origins date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when an Italian missionary who could not bear to see people throwing away extra buffalo milk showed locals how to make Italian cheese. The Chinese later adapted the recipe, adding white vinegar. To make Daliang buffalo cheese - maintain milk temperature, pour 1/3 cup white vinegar in a cup with a spoon, scoop a spoonful of heated milk into the cup, the milk immediately solidifies into lumps, mold and smooth curd with your fingers, squeeze out whey and residual vinegar,  soak in brine for 4 hours. The mild, sweet-and-salty cheese comes in thin, round flakes that are sold in a jar. WATCH Daliang buffalo cheese being made below!

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Xinjiang Milk Knot

Made using cow or goat milk that is fermented, boiled and dried, Xinjiang milk knot’s are a dry cheese with a rough skin. Seems the more it’s chewed, the more sweet and sour flavours it releases.  The sweet type contains more fat and is more fragrant, the sour type is made with less fat & is less aromatic. The Kazkh nomadswho make it usually soak their milk knots in hot tea to soften it before eating, or chew it slowly. Less authentic milk knots are available in Shanghai, as pictured below.

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Milk Tofu

Raw cow milk, usually colostrum, is coagulated, fermented and formed into blocks. A chese from Inner Mongolia, it is often steamed or grilled, soaked  in tea, and served with fried millet and braised mutton. Mongolians say it’s flavor and texture changes when it is cut into different sizes; thick slices are soft, milky, slightly sweet and sour; thin slices taste sweeter and melt in the mouth. Some make with ​​caramelised milk.

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New Zealand Dairy in the Curd Old Days

I love to collect, always have. In my case it’s less the object and more the data, my house & budget too small to procure & store an archive of items. I guess this is why my collections are modest, mostly a city of smurfs, over 1000 fromage etiquettes & NZ dairy treasure: milk bottles, cheddar crates, cheese tins, milking cups, vintage cheddar hoops, butter pats…

I’m not alone, there is quite the community of dairy antique geeks, but not so many vocal dairy collectors in NZ that I’m aware of(?), although  I’m confident they’re out there across NZ & we’re yet to cross paths. We’ve alot to swap notes on, NZ’s dairy history was and continues to be a big deal – without the industry what would identity of Noo Zeeland be? It’s with relief this is acknowledged by the NZ National Dairy Museum. We’ve a fair bit of dairy heritage archived in museums & libraries across the country, which I’ve managed to kinda curate in my own way, via my New Zealand Dairy in the Curd Old Days pinterest page. I’s like to see more permanent dairy exhibits in NZ, but then a geek like me would aye.

Here are some of my favourites…

Nellie with Clover the cow, circa 1890

1901

Pihama Dairy Factory 1919 – 1920

The ’1 ton cheese’ made for the Dunedin and South Seas Exhibition in 1925-26.

 
HELLO NEW ZEALAND “A STORY OF DAIRYING IN NEW ZEALAND.” 1944 ~ NATIONAL DAIRY COUNCIL

Dairy factory workers loading cheeses on to the high shelves in the store room. Each cheese weighed more than 80 lbs. – East Tamaki cheese factory, ca 1955.

At Wright Stephnson’s department storee cutting a 500 lb cheese made by the Rennet Cheese Company, Eltham, circa 1968

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Wietkaas – The Cannabis Cheese

Unlike the hemp cheeses on the market, Wietkaas is very much a psychoactive cheese. Far from being passe, it is a traditional Dutch delicacy where visitors have a chance to experience Holland in one bite. Each raw milk 500gm cheese contains 5 grams of marijuana and is therefore legal within the Dutch borders.

Caution! Wietkaas contains drugs.

Be careful with consuming our cheese. Please do not eat too much at once, and eat it only at special occasions. Ask for help if your consumption becomes fanatic.

Eating a Wietkaas is not the same as smoking a joint. Wietkaas takes much longer for the effect to come, maybe even more than an hour, that varies by person, but it’s effects are way harder.

When smoking a joint, 80% of the THC (the active ingredient) gets lost, when eating our cheese, every bit of THC is absorbed by the body. Too much cheese may cause a tedious trip, and that is not our intention.

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Tiny cheese foodies

I found a bunch of Tiny Foodies today that got me excited. The AU PAYS DU LAIT Balade des Minimiams exhibition at La Milk Factory created by husband and wife team Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle. If you’re reading this, chances are tiny folks living on cheese turns you on, too. I mean, who doesn’t love a cheesy choo choo train?! *Smooch* ♥

 

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