Friday, November 4, 2016

Queen goat

While in the Monferrato wine district, our friend Luca introduced us to his neighbors who have a Roccaverano goat farm!

cute goat sign point to the capra regina farm

Goats by nature are very easy animals to get along with, but the Roccaverano goats are extra special because they are native of Piedmont and an endangered species. They are particularly famous for the robiola di Roccaverano cheese produced with their milk.
So, we were quite intrigued to see these witty animals and hear about the whole goat cheese and yogurt production.


The name of the farm is Capra Regina - Queen Goat and, just like in a picture book, it is located on the top of a hill. As far as your eyes can reach, it is the only construction and the only thing you can hear is the sheep chatting and singing. 

Massimo Coizet came to welcome us and walked us to greet Goffredo right away. On our way, he told us that in the world there aren't more than 1500 Roccaverano goats and in the Monferrato district there is the 10% of the whole genetic pool.
Usually these goats are mixed with the alpina camosciata goat, that is slightly different, however, on this farm they are striving to breed pure Roccaverano goats without horns, so they don't get hurt when they fight. This is why the males that lead the reproduction, like Goffredo, are always picked without horns.
After greeting Goffredo, we said hello to Astracan and Diamante.

On this farm there are 100 queen goats, all happy and well cared for. Massimo knows each one by name and talks to them. On the very frequent good days, they are all free to graze wherever they prefer on this large property.
Like many small farms in Piedmont, the Capra Regina farm is also in the process of completing the organic certification because every step of the cheese production complies with the Italian organic requirement.
alfalfa: you can see the flowers!
Most of the goats' food is also grown on the farm: hay and protein rich alfalfa; the straw is outsourced. The supplement for the nursing goats is organic and no chemicals are used at all. All these queen goats lead rather a peaceful and natural life. Even the deliveries are natural and in case of emergency, Massimo acts like a veterinarian even though in his previous life he was a real estate agent, in Milan.
Animal lovers at heart, he and his architect wife decided to quit their city lives to move to the country and breed happy animals. Massimo decided to devote his life to the Roccaverano goats to make the the best cheese and yogurt production in the world, while his wife Emilia has become the 4th Abyssinian cat breeder in Italy!

Queen's black velevet
Every day, these goats produce 400 liters/ 105.6 gallons of milk that mak 40kg/88lb of cheese.
On the farm they produce about 12 different kinds of cheese, like natural Robiola di Roccaverano cheese and Queen's black velvet: a mild Roccaverano robiola aged in edible vegetable charcoal for 7 days.
They also make a hard cheese, similar to Parmesan cheese but made of goat milk!
Look up here for their catalog, where you'll see they also make Bruss cheese spread, goat milk Seirass and natural and fruit goat milk yogurts.

What strikes you about this farm is that the goats are happy and clean, they get milked every morning and then the cheese making production starts right away to use its living ferments. The raw milk is worked at 25/30C  (77/86F) to keep all its perfumes and properties.
These products are so natural and healthy, the yogurt can last up to one month!

somebody is going out
Clearly before leaving the goats, we had to pay a visit to the Abyssinian cats too!
Unlike Massimo's farm cat who is free to wander and check the goats out, Emilia's Abyssinian cats stay at their home!
They occupy different rooms: the girls share a large room upstairs, the kitties are downstairs and the boys are in two separate rooms.

one of Emilia's Abyssinian cats
These are extremely extroverted and witty cats, their coats is short and reddish, and they have larger ears compared to other breeds. They are very playful and very attached to their owner. We asked Emilia what made her become a breeder and more specifically of Abyssinian cats. She said that she picked this breed when she was 12, flipping through a cats book.
Then, in Milan she became an amateur breeder and now in Monferrato, on this large farm she can finally fully devote her time to her beloved cats!!

And right when we were leaving, a customer arrived to pick up one of the kitties!!

What a nice farm, the goats are super cute and the Abyssinian cats give an exotic twist to this visit, so mark it down, you'll just love the cheese :P

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