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Botìro di malga di Primiero

Botìro di malga di Primiero
Botìro from the Primiero mountain pasture
Slow Food Presidium


A New Slow Food Presidium in Trentino

A butter for Venice
In the local dialect, "botìro" means butter and, at the times of Serenissima, the best butter for sale in Venice used to come from Primiero summer mountain pastures, among the dolomitic summits of Pale di San Martino and Lagorai Mountains. Its quality was extraordinary both for the floristic richness of the pastures of these valleys rich in water and for the accurate processing giving birth to a product that could be preserved for several months. The local summer mountain pastures - several in the past - used most of the cream to produce butter, to the extent that cheese - a low fat cheese - was almost a residual product. At the end of the summer, the big packages of butter were transported to the towns of the valley bottom and preserved in cool cellars. Except for the small quantity that remained for the local people, subject to price-control, the rest of the butter was transported in December to Treviso and Venice, where it was sold by "Confraternita dei butirranti". Even if this traditional production had almost been completely abandoned, the memory of the extraordinary taste of the butter produced until a few decades ago in these summer mountain pastures remained. Today, a Slow Food Presidium wants to relaunch the production of botìro di malga made with raw cream, resumed for two years by the Local Cheese Factory in Primiero.
The traditional production method is simple, but requires accuracy and competence. First of all, it is necessary to separate cream from milk: the milk obtained from the evening milking is left standing for the night in a cool place, so that the cream can naturally surface. In the morning, the cream is taken out, moved to the cheese factory, and put into the churn, an old 1950s model made with wood and cast iron. The churn shakes the cream until the fat coagulates in butter crumbs floating in the buttermilk. After eliminating the buttermilk and washing the butter with cool water, it is kneaded in order to eliminate as much as possible the liquid remains that can cause the formation of mold or the butter going rancid. To prepare butter packages, wooden molds carved with the original drawing of a bouquet of mountain flowers are used: the drawing is also reproduced on the paper used to wrap up the packages.
Botìro di malga di Primiero has an intense color going from straw-yellow to gold; it has a slightly aromatic perfume, with lively floral and herbaceous notes. It is soft and easy to spread.

The Presidium
The recovery project of botìro was born from the will of a local group - Comitato per la cultura del cibo a Primiero (the Food Culture Committee in Primiero), and thanks to the availability of the Local Cheese Factory of Primiero, collecting the milk from the local breeders (about one hundred) and from the mountain pastures used during the summer.
For the second year, the butter production is based on the cream made in Malga Fossernica, situated at 1,804m of altitude at the foot of Lagorai mountains, whose pastures are particularly rich in aromatic herbs. The recovery of the butter production can become an important support for those summer mountain pastures, like Malga Fossernica, that are isolated and difficult to reach, and therefore risk to be abandoned. For this reason, one of the future aims of the Presidium is to enlarge the number of malghe involved in the production of botìro and give an essential contribution to the preservation of the mountain territory.

  • Production Area: Primiero (Province of Trento), that is malghe and pastures in the Municipalities of Canal San Bovo, Imèr, Mezzano, Sagron-Mis, Siror, Tonadico, and Transacqua.
  • Presidium supported by: Comprensorio di Primiero, Paneveggio Pale di San Martino Park, Cassa Rurale Valli di Primiero e Vanoi, Azienda per il Turismo San Martino di Castrozza, Primiero e Vanoi
  • Slow Food contact for the Presidium: Antonella Faoro, Tel. 349/5339496 - anto@primiero.net
  • Representative of the Presidium producers: Alberto Bettega, director of the Local Social Cheese Factory in Primiero
The Producers
  Caseificio di Primiero
Cheese Factories - Mezzano di Primiero (TN)

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