"I was born in the agricultural world because my dad has a winery and I gave him a hand by taking care of a little bit of everything, from the maintenance of the vineyards to the harvest to the cellar," says 23-year-old Nathan Pavese. The Pavese family are stewards of six hectares of grape vines in the hamlet of La Ruine, outside Morgex, just minutes from the summit of Mont Blanc. The estate is one of the highest vineyards in Europe, perched beneath glaciers and cliff-sides so sheer that only the local Chamois goats can scale them without difficulty. "For three years I studied at the Institut Agricole Régional, then I decided that I wanted to specialize more in the wine sector and I ‘escaped’ to Alsace. When I returned - it was 2017 - we practically lost all our crops due to the weather. We said to ourselves: if it were to happen for two years in a row, we could not hold out. So we learned a lesson: you can't live on just one crop.”
Nathan took over about five hectares of land between Morgex et La Salle - three of wheat, one of potatoes and another of corn and forage - and he also added the breeding of 400 rabbits. "I can manage myself, even if with my dad we help each other a lot: we tried to differentiate ourselves, but maybe in the future we will have a unique company.” We are thrilled the Pavese family has grown their farm so that we can enjoy another side of this beautiful Alpine estate’s terroir. Cook up some glorious polenta at home with one of Nathan Pavese's favorite recipes. Enjoy!
POLENTA ALLA VALDOSTANA
160 gr Polenta
100-150 gr butter (about 100-150 gr)
200 gr fontina or any good melting cheese.
Prepare the polenta with salt and water or broth until it reaches the desired consistency.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with two or three sage leaves, before it is too hot turn off and set the leaves aside. Dice the fontina.
In a pan that can go into the oven, put a little melted butter and make a layer of polenta, put a little butter, distribute the diced fontina cheese, make another layer of polenta, a little butter, diced fontina and the set aside sage leaves.
Bake at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes until golden and crispy.