These simple ingredients give life to the Parmigiano Reggiano of Marola, a special cheese it its class. You know this product by its distinctive taste– as well as its nutritious quality and easy digestibility– typical of a cheese with origins among the foothills and chestnut groves of Marola (altitude 800 meters). Once a forested area, less than ideal for farming, Marola was tranformed into ideal cattle raising land thanks to the work of Benedectine monks around the year 1000.
The entire process starts with them, the Reggiano cows that are selected with great care. Every day they graze and eat local feed (no OGM) and drink pure spring water, all far from any source of pollution. The animals follow a natural diet and this gives healthy milk– genuine and of the highest quality.
Each day, the milk from the evening milking is left to rest until morning in large vats. The evening milk, together with the whole milk from the morning milking are poured into classic up-side-down, bell-shaped copper vats. Then with the addition of caglio and naturally fermented milk yeasts the milk begins to coagulate and turn into a solid mass that is continually stirred and broken into tiny grains thanks to an antique tool known as the “spino”.
And at this point fire enters the scene. After cooking, the liquid cheese form can be turned out onto the traditional linen cloth and then “cradled” into the mold, “la fascera”. Each form is assigned its very own serial number. Special marking plates brand the form with the production month and year, a code that identifies the dairy and the unmistakable dot pattern around its entire circumference. Then it is immersed in a saturated salt and water solution. The salt-curing is absorbed and in a little less than a month the production cycle is over and the aging cycle begins.
In the silence of the warehouse, left to rest on wooden planks, the form’s exterior surface dries creating a natural crust, with no further treatment. The minimum aging period is 12 months and only at this point after the inspection by the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium can the cheese claim to have the right characteristics to be packaged and sold through the cheese factory outlet– a truly direct route between producer and consumer.