When Giacomo Gatì returned from Germany, he came across a terrible surprise: all those beautiful goats that every family used to have, with their long, spiral-shaped horns, were no longer.
So, not without difficulty, he decided to search for this breed to save it from extinction, until 2001, when, despite the high cost, he finally finds one in Alcamo. And this is the start of his first endeavour: he would go to live in the countryside in a house built by him following the principles of bio-architecture and would raise the Girgentana goat. And so it was.
But what is so special about this goat? The Girgentana, which comes from Girgenti, the pre-fascist name of Agrigento, has always been different from the other Mediterranean species: it is livelier, it loves human contact, it’s very intelligent, perhaps because of those magnificent horns it has, which bestow an elegant, regal bearing upon it, making it as graceful as a lady of other times. And then comes its milk, which is so delicate and digestible, just like milk that comes from human mothers, drunk for centuries by the families in Girgenti. And yet no one before Giacomo had ever thought of making cheese from it. And this was his second endeavour: to start to produce Girgentana goat’s cheese, in such a way that those who raised them (theirs numbers had become five by then) might also make a living from it, thus making them more motivated to look after it as time went on. This intuition worked: orange and pistachio, garlic and coffee, lemon and Nero d’Avola, with vegetable rennet and even a type without it! Overall, Giacomo’s sensitive and creative intelligence is evident in his dairy creations – unique, well-thought through cheeses, which can never be described as ordinary.
But there comes a moment when Giacomo feels that it’s all getting a bit too much for him: and this is when his third endeavour takes place. He therefore starts passing down his knowledge to youngsters, who, with small acts, day after day, slowly learned and mastered a profession; a profession which has also given them the possibility of staying in their homeland.
Today, Azienda Montalbo’s 150 goats belong to Davide, Angelo, Carmelo and Paolo, four incredibly motivated young men, who chose this job, but more than anything chose to learn it with the humility of those who know what they do and love doing it. Everything continues to happen under his watchful eyes, but only because it’s more difficult to distance yourself from what belongs to your soul. And it is thanks to all of them that you too will have you own experience with the Girgentana: touching their spiral-shaped horns, producing their precious milk and enjoying that treasure trove of flavours that come from their cheeses.