Friday, September 21, 2012

‘Cowboy’ Chef-Owner Luigi Diotaiuti of Al Tiramisu

I have learnt a lot from the visits to Al Tiramisu and learning Italian cooking from Chef Luigi during his cooking classes. A few months ago he took a leave of absence and traveled to Italy to help his brother uphold the ancient Italian tradition of Transumanza, which was a way of life in Italy for some 3000 years that's in danger of dying.

Transumanza means "crossing the land." It's the nearly disappearing, twice yearly migration of cows and sheep from winter-appropriate lowlands to cooler, high-altitude, lush pastures and back again. It has the full support of the Italian government. Each cow has ID "papers" to make this journey—number, date of birth, and health information including vaccines.
It’s not exactly like the cattle drive in the popular American film “City Slickers,” starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. There are no Italian cowboys on horseback to herd the cattle—only men on foot both herding and shepherding hundreds of cows up and down hills, through pastures, gorges, valleys, refuges, glens of trees, rural villages and towns, and even down paved two-lane roads.

Wow! Walking 120 kms or around 70 miles and herding cows with a stick, reminds me of my native village in India but of course I have not done much beyond helping the cow herds in my village when I was much younger.

See some pics at Al Tiramisu's Facebook page  and La Transumanza 2012 photo album. Ask Chef Luigi when you visit Al Tiramisu next time. Lovely food try it some time. 

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