Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
Long ago, on one particularly hot afternoon I was motoring to Milan following a successful business visit to an out-of-the-way, American radar station, near Tontine, in the Alps. Only half conscious of the drive, I was day-dreaming and thinking about my dinner date which had been previously arranged for that evening. I was approaching yet another rural village along the route when my attention was suddenly captured by the name on a road sign – Gorgonzola. I slammed on the breaks and reversed to recheck the name.
It really was Gorgonzola and here was my chance to taste that magnificent, Queen of cheeses in its place of origin. Growing up, at home in Manchester, my mother served only the standard English cheeses, Lancashire, Cheddar, Stilton, Cheshire or Yorkshire. Stilton, for me, was the only exotic of the bunch. It was not until the late fifties, early sixties the continental cheeses came onto the British market but she was not prepared to allow any of that foreign muck to grace our table.
Taking a chance, I pulled into the drive of the first trattoria I came to, which was also a hotel. I explained to the accommodating proprietor that I preferred not to have lunch but would love a large portion of Gorgonzola and a carafe of red wine. She was only too pleased to serve me, the sole customer and I took a seat at a table in the garden, under the cooling shelter of an ancient hazelnut tree. Within minutes the landlady put before me me a basket of fresh, homemade bread, a bottle of water, a half litre carafe of the local Piedmont wine and a an enormous wedge of ripe, almost melting Gorgonzola, marbled with its celebrated greenish-blue mould.
Despite the years that have passed, I have yet to taste cheese like that piece of Gorgonzola and if I had the chance again, I would be prepared to kill for it. Never has anything tasted so delectable, so luscious, so savoury as the slab of ambrosia the charming landlady put before me that afternoon. The wine completed the feast and I could not help but fall asleep unmolested, with my back against the tree.
On awakening a couple of hours later, I realized that there was no way that I was going to make my rendezvous in Milan and I was charmingly persuaded it would be better to overnight there, in Gorgonzola. It has been many years since I enjoyed that repast but I still wonder if the date I failed to turn up for; is the only woman who has ever lost out to a plate of cheese?
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