Ogliastra is a treasure trove of unique beauties: the turquoise sea of the coasts mixes with hills and mountains with lush and wild vegetation. The 900 sheep of the Chiai farm graze free in this area, 150 meters from the sea, where the grass collects all the moods and flavors of the Mediterranean Sea. Their 400 goats, on the other hand, have found a home in the Teccu plateau, a natural oasis that is just a few kilometers from the town of Bari Sardo.
The Chiai family, breeders for generations, are today the owners of a dairy that has managed to preserve the tradition of their ancestors by making it the “engine” of a leading company in Sardinia in the production of some excellence for true gourmets, Casu Ageru, yogurt, and Callu and Crabittu above all.
These uncontaminated pastures are the basis of the diet of the 1,300 animals from which the Chiai family products are born, in strict compliance with the teachings of Santa Luciano and mamma Rosa, but with an eye always attentive on the part of Davide, Emanuele, and Gabriele to the demands of the market. . The milk arrives every day in the dairy and is immediately processed to make Casu Ageru.
The processing lasts a few hours, then this extraordinary fresh cheese, characterized by a sweet-sour taste unique in the world, is ready to be consumed. A part, on the other hand, is worked with salt to create “su casu ammurgiau”, essential for the filling of the culurgiones Igp d’Ogliastra. But how to best enjoy casu ageru? The Chiai family recommended a recipe for the summer, “su Smurgiu de s’istadi” (The summer snack): fresh casu ageru, sliced cherry tomatoes, a touch of pistoccu bread to serve as a dish, fresh oregano, a pinch of pepper, and chilli and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
With fresh milk, another product now consumed throughout the island is prepared: yogurt. How was it born? The milk is brought to boiling temperature (about 100-110 °), then it is left to mature at 45 degrees. At the end of this process that sterilizes the raw material, the enzymes are added to give life to the final product. Finally, the certified Italian fresh fruit puree is added. The flavors are many: apricot, lemon, hazelnut, citrus, strawberry, and many others. Chiai yogurts are all strictly lactose-free. The digestibility of this product has conquered half of Sardinia with dozens of loyal customers willing to travel from Cagliari and other large towns on the island to stock up on yogurt.
While we visit the dairy, Davide proudly shows goat and pecorino cheeses (fresh, semi-mature, and aged) and ricotta, natural or smoked.
But a product that made the Chiai family famous is certainly “su Callu e Crabittu”, a delicacy that only four other Sardinian dairies have the license to market. A cheese for true connoisseurs obtained from the abomasum of the kid not yet weaned, which is prepared here in Bari Sardo following the health protocols: the processing is less “ancestral”, but the strong, spicy, and decisive flavor of the final product is the same as the traditional one.
“When people taste one of our yogurt or our cheese, I want them to keep a good memory – explains Davide Chiai with lucid passion -. Ours is a very tiring and difficult job, but one that gives immense satisfaction. We have inherited a great tradition, thanks to which we are able to make people happy and give work to seven families in our territory. This is perhaps the greatest satisfaction “.
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