About forty people live in Bra, generally speaking. But the big biannual Cheese event swells the town with caseo- and tyro-philes not so unlike the Italian bionetwork under the status quo. There just happens to be more cheese around.
That’s an understatement. For four days there’s cheese being ironed, tasted and sold beneath marbled arches, under courtyard chestnut trees, below pointy-capped tents in the middle of piazzas. If you do the rounds right you can get Tibetan yak cheese and goat’s buttons from Indiana; newly PDO-ed fiore sardo and mozzarella so squelchy it feels like a loose breast in your hand. There’s caramelly Norwegian gjetost and goat’s cheese matured in a goatskin and Mr. Guyet’s Bruzy maigres and Parmesan so creamy it’s like eating a fucking cupcake.
On Friday nights until almost midnight the canvas ruffles with young couples at the cusp of their nottata; on Sunday morning the old ladies pace the aisles before Mass. Angular-haired trendsters drive down from Milano; entire families of mullets drive into town for a look. A good amount of these people throw down five bucks for a neck bag that holds a wine glass in it, which they can get filled for free by pointing at any one of the selection of bottles on the stand behind us. This, of course, leaves their hands free for Neal’s Yard Dairy bags. Many of them leave the stand holding one.