At the foot of the Costiera dei Cech, in the locality of Campovico at a certain point you come across a small sunscreen that protrudes from a shop with two windows and in writing: ‘Retrobottega’ … one who passes may not pay much attention to it, but does not know what they’ll miss!
As we enter, we find Albino (the owner and chef as well as researcher of food excellence in the area, passionate about everything that is taste, cuisine and above all the art of making cheese), Romina and sometimes Gloria, Albino’s partner and sommelier.
In practice it is like this: Albino is constantly looking for small and very small local producers who create excellent products with their hands and who enhance the territory by respecting it and keeping it well cared for.
His passion is cheese, which he knows and tells you with overwhelming enthusiasm…. “Because Cristina made this cheese on Alpe Orta Vaga … then: that day there were low clouds and the smoke remained inside the ‘calecc’ while they were making the cheese, here, when you taste it you can really smell that smoke “. These are unique stories for unique products. That cheese is only for those who are lucky enough to discover it, to taste it and to be able to know its origin.
Continuing to explore Retrobottega, we head towards the kitchen and we notice that there are greenish traces on the floor, as if they were ‘old stains’ that have now become part of those walls. Albino jumps to his feet like a spring and with great satisfaction he tells us that in the past in those premises, at the time of his grandfather, there was a cooperative that traded all agricultural products for the inhabitants of the small hamlet of Campovico and that those traces they are spots of ‘verderame’: a copper-based fungicide that was used for the care of vines. It may seem like a detail but “We need to smell the past to give the right value to the present”.
Finally we arrive in the kitchen and there we let ourselves be amazed by the creativity of this man, I’d better say about this guy 😉… he is a whirlwind of ideas and culture and passion for details. Each ingredient is chosen with obsessive attention and has its own little story to tell, from butter to cheeses, to capers, to saffron produced in the town of Talamona a few kilometers from Morbegno and to every other detail that can make the difference. Staying around him for a moment makes you understand that we don’t need to go who knows where to find new and excellent products, it would really be enough to open our eyes a little and look around us with attention and humility.
As it is now at the end of the day and the Retrobottega is about to close, we look at each other, smile and without even saying it we open a bottle of good red wine Selezione 2015, from our friends of the Terrazze dei Cech . Then we start talking about our life projects and with the second bottle and some friends who happened to pass by, we become even more philosophers and more friends.