Extremes in Comparison: Understanding Quality in Food

Two men, both experts in the Italian food sector, come together in giving educational tastings of certain food products to provide better understanding of the quality of what we eat. Estremi e Confronti (Extremes and Comparisons) is a series of blind food tastings organized by Roberto Rubino, President of ANFOSC and Metodo Nobile with the collaboration of Beppe Giovale, proprietor of Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi who hails from a family of cheese producers for 400 years. Its aim is to learn how to use the sense of taste as an indispensable parameter to recognize and identify the quality of agri-food products.

Roberto Rubino is a researcher from the Campania region who has spent years in understanding the cause of the quality of cheese in Southern Italy and who is currently expanding the scope to food supply. He created Associazione Nazionale Formaggi Sotto il Cielo (ANFOSC) which translated to English means National Association of Cheese Under The Sky. It is a brand that guarantees the origin, nature and quality of the products carrying the mark. The particularity of the ANFOSC brand concerns the quality of the cheeses which must be produced exclusively with the milk of pasture grazing animals. Apart from ANFOSC, he also created Metodo Nobile (ME.NO.), a consortium that represents a community of producers and processors of raw materials from various sectors of the agricultural sector.

Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi was opened ten years ago in Rome by Beppe Giovale and Juliette Souquet where it is possible to taste and buy a kaleidoscope of cheeses from France using raw milk and the cheeses produced by Beppe's family in Piedmont. The milk used in the production of the Beppe's cheese come from animals raised exclusively in the mountain pastures of the Susa and Sangone Valleys in Piedmont.There are also salami, sausages, patè, terrines and some classic Piedmontese dishes. 

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the quality of raw products like flour, milk and meat. They are never the same, between one animal or plant to another, from one place to another, the environment on where and how they grow, the climatic conditions, the food they are nurtured with and the air they breathe. At the blind food tasting, Roberto Rubino expounded on the variable constituents that affect them.

How do we recognize the differences of tastes in the food that we eat? Roberto Rubino explains that the polyphenols play a very important role in the quality of flavors of the raw products. Like with the production of wine, other agricultural products obtain better quality from lower yields in contrast with bigger quantity. The reward for less output is the quality which is linked to a higher concentration of polyphenols, and this is what the Metodo Nobile is all about. When polyphenols are present in greater quantity, the flavors are more distinctive and persistent in the palate.

To understand this concept, a blind tasting of different products took place at Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi conducted by Roberto Rubino among a long table of gastronomic critics. The goal was to comprehend this concept by highlighting the sense of taste. Product results from low yields were compared with commercial products obtained from higher yields were laid out on the table for tasting. The comparison of bread produced with wheat flour with yield of 16 quintals per hectare and bread of flour of unknown provenance provided by Sorelle Palese of Potenza, as well artisan pasta from Leonessa of Cercola from 18 quintals per hectare and commercial grains. Whereas in the case of meat and cheese, animals raised in the pasture and stable were compared provided by Azienda Agricola Sulas Sergio of Bolottana and more profoundly, comprehending the diversity of tastes of the grazing season (beginning, middle and end) with the cheese of Azienda Paganico of Tito, Caseificio Passalacqua of Castronovo di Sicily, and Giovale Formaggi of Giaveno.

The grazing feed of the animals and the direct ingestion of the grass favors the passage to milk of substances that make the cheeses different. The animals' complete freedom to eat whatever they want at whatever time constitutes a natural condition of well-being for them as an essential element for a correct balance of the chemical and nutritional components of the milk.

Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi

Via Santa Maria del Pianto, 9A
00186 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 68192210


Viale del Basento, 108
85100 Potenza (PZ), Italy
Tel: +39 0971 54661