Fodom (or Fodóm) is the name of both a valley and a traditional semi-cooked cheese made with raw cow’s milk. This cheese is produced in the small Ladin community of Livinallongo at the foot of the Sella massif in the heart of the Dolomite Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Livinallongo’s 1,300 inhabitants live in small hamlets distributed across a scenic landscape dotted with farmhouses and traditional wooden shelters. Spruce forests alternate with meadows and pastures rich in forage plants. The Alpine meadows begin at an elevation of 1,300 meters above sea level and extend up to elevations over 2,000 meters in the case of the Cherz pasture, where lactating cows graze. Heifers graze in the pastures of Col di Lana and near the Pordoi pass, above 2,200 meters in elevation at the top of the valley. In total, the farmers in the valley mow 300 hectares of meadows for hay and graze their cows on an additional 450 hectares of pasture.
Working on the steep meadows requires hard work and the use of special machinery. Haying begins in June in the meadows surrounding the farms and continues into August in the higher meadows, which contain a greater diversity of forage plants and thus provide a higher quality of fodder. At the end of summer, the meadows around the farms are mown again. Mixing grass from the different meadows results in excellent hay and the cows who eat it produce milk that is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. The two primary cattle breeds raised in the Fodom Valley are the bruna alpina (Swiss brown) and the pezzata rossa (“dappled red”). Their milk is processed in a cooperative dairy that the local farmers manage. The dairy produces various cheeses; Fodom is the traditional cheese of the area and is made from raw whole milk. The milk is heated to 36.5 degrees Celsius and then starter culture (which the producers make themselves) and calf rennet are added. After resting for 30 minutes, the curd is cut into pieces the size of a hazelnut, rested again for a few minutes, and then cut into increasingly finer pieces. Next, the curd is gradually heated to a temperature of 46 degrees Celsius. The partly cooked curds are collected in linen cloth, placed in molds, and pressed for 15 minutes, and then the cheeses are imprinted with the name “Fodom.” The following day, the wheels of cheese are placed in brine, where they are left for a couple of days. Maturation is the final step.
Fodom can be consumed after 3-4 months, though the maturation can extend up to a year or more. The paste is compact, with eyes (holes) of variable size (generally small) and distribution. Each cheese has a diameter of 30-35 centimeters and a height of 7-8 centimeters, and weights approximately 5 kilograms.
The Presidium’s objective is to sustain the small community of local farmers, giving proper value to their dairy products. In particular, the Presidium supports the production of high-quality Fodom made during the summer from the raw milk of cows grazing in the high mountain pastures, alongside cheese produced during the rest of the year when the cows eat hay from the lower meadows.
Livinallongo del Col di Lana (province of Belluno)
Presidium supported by:
Latteria Cooperativa di Livinallongo
Via Renaz, 57
Livinallongo del Col di Lana (Bl)
Tel. +39 0436 79237
The cooperative dairy gathers milk from 8 producers (Ester Crepaz, Pio Crepaz, Paolo Degasper, Erwin De Zaiacomo, Bernardino Dorigo, Christian Grones, Roberto Pallua, and Elisa Darman).
Next to the dairy is a shop and the agritourism La Stua dei Bacagn (Tel. +39 349 366 8265), which the members of the cooperative manage. The agritourism serves traditional dishes made from ingredients grown by local farmers and the meat of animals that the members raise.
Egidio De Zaiacomo
Tel. +39 339 3582470