Every 2 years, cheesemakers, affineurs, producers, farmers, and enthusiasts gather in the Italian town of Bra for Cheese.

This is the most important Slow Food event focusing on raw milk, but not the only one: Over the years the international network has mobilized itself and new Slow Cheese events are starting to take place in a number of different countries.

From Denmark to Turkey and Italy to Germany, the Slow Food network offers many opportunities to celebrate small-scale dairy production while also discussing the main problems and future challenges facing artisanal cheese.

What makes a Slow Cheese event?

Here are 12 essential requirements:

  1. The event must be organized by one or more Slow Food communities or national associations, or the community or national association must be among the event’s main organizers.
  2. Slow Food’s fundraising rules must be followed.
  3. Visitors must be encouraged to join Slow Food and its main campaigns.
  4. It must be more than just a market and also include educational activities—like Taste Workshops, conferences, or forums—to raise awareness about the problems and issues linked to dairy production and its sustainability.
  5. The main focus must be the artisanal production of cheeses and, where possible, priority must be given to those cheeses made without the use of selected industrial starter cultures.
  6. The culture of raw milk must be promoted, both by working with producers and by campaigning for policies that make this production method legal everywhere. Where possible, only raw milk products should be displayed. When this is not possible, cheeses made with pasteurized milk should only be present with good reason.
  7. Exhibitors must be encouraged to share as much information as possible about their products and their work with the public, through narrative labels or specially designed signs and posters. The cheeses on display must be made with milk produced on the farm or bought locally from other farms that participate in small-scale projects. Cheeses containing artificial preservatives, flavorings, additives, and colorings cannot be displayed, nor can products that have undergone any kind of chemical treatment.
  8. Where locally present, the event must promote cheesemaking in mountain environments or other marginal areas, and extensive livestock farming practices. The use of local breeds should be considered a priority.
  9. Awareness must be raised about animal welfare.
  10. The event must be held in an open, free venue, accessible to the public without restrictions.
  11. The event must be organized with respect for environmental and social sustainability.
  12. It must have the purpose of building networks and alliances, both with the event’s partners and among the producers.

Here are the main Slow Cheese events around the world:

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