The 29th edition of this world-renowned competition was held in San Sebastian as part of the International Cheese Festival. This makes for the third such recognition that the cheeses of Muntanyola have received in 2016.
Meritxell Serret, accompanied by the president of AMPANS, the mayor of Sant Salvador de Guardiola, and the delegate of the Catalan Government for the Central Catalonia region visited the dairy.
We have had the opportunity to talk about our social innovation project at the cheese festival being held this week in San Sebastian.
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Formatges Muntanyola make exquisite varieties of traditional cow's, goat's, buffalo's and sheep's milk cheese at Ca l'Urpina, a farm located on one the slopes of the Montserrat Massif and forming part of the social project of the Ampans Foundation.
From the care given to the livestock to the many essential processes involved, such as milking, preparing and curing, to when it reaches your plate, many people have expressed their passion about each of the cheeses we make. It is a rather simple combination: a bit of Pla de Bages, a few drops of wisdom and a pinch of dreams.
The dairy run by AMPANS gives work to intellectually disabled people who, thanks to this dignified, quality work, can lead a fulfilled life.
Live. Work. Learn. Enjoy. Urpina is a social project begun by AMPANS in 2006 with the donation of the farm to the organisation. At that point, a team started to lay out the first activities that the project would encompass. Bringing back the vineyards, which had survived despite the passage of time, and cultivating new acres of native-variety grapes would mean the beginning of the Urpina Project.
A few years later, in 2009, we would expand by opening a home for the intellectually disabled next to the vineyard: the Urpina Residential Home, which houses people with intellectual disabilities; a project in harmony with nature that would give us an opportunity to enter the workplace and be socially recognised.
The project is ongoing and moving toward consolidating each new activity with the aim of creating new jobs in a superb working environment. The traditional cheese dairy and goat farm to ensure the supply of quality milk has opened up new perspectives in job placement and social work, and in the years to come, we expect to take on new production activities. All this without forgetting that, just like the farm that once was donated to us, the landscape and the earth, the fact that all that we breathe is not ours, it is for everyone and whoever we share it with, opening up the farm to all who would like to live the Urpina experience, or learn and be moulded by its values (schools, groups, companies...).