Very Calabrian cheeses

A cooperative dairy where cheeses are produced by skilfully applying innovatory technologies to century-old recipes of cheese making: this is the description of ‘Fattoria della Piana’, located in contrada Sovereto di Candidoni (RC), at the boundary of the provinces of Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia. It is a model of closed chain company, that since 1936 has transformed cow’s and sheep’s milk produced by its members, today 85, in excellent traditional cheeses. Besides high quality fresh products (‘fiordilatte’, cow buffalo’s mozzarella, and ricotta), sundry typical cheeses are produced, such as ‘caciotta’, ‘caciocavallo’, ‘provola’, and different typologies of pecorino cheese, certified according to the international BRC-IFS standards, one of the most widespread means for qualifying the suppliers of products with the trademarks of large-scale retail trade, with the aim of guaranteeing that these products are realized respecting alimentary safety requirements.

The most important and peculiar production of this company is pecorino cheese, of which Fattoria della Piana today is the first producer in the region.

Among the most valued cheeses of Calabria

Pecorino Crotonese cheese is exclusively produced with milk of Calabrian sheep of ‘Gentile’ breed, one of the big autochthonous ovine Italian breeds with a low fat content. It is one of the most valued dairy products of Calabria. It is characterized by a ripening of at least 4 months and has a compact pale yellow paste. Its smell is intense and aromatic and its persisting and spicy flavour results from specific enzymes present in the milk and long ripening. Its cheese rind is characterized by a peculiar ochre, while its compact paste tends to turn pale yellow when it is fresh and ochre after ripening. Its flavour ranges from lighter scents to spicier and spicier notes with ripening, characterized by drops of fat that pour from the few holes, while its mature and well balanced aromas and scents make it an appetizing table cheese, that can be tasted as both appetizer and side dish.

Northern Europe, USA, and Canada

A well structured distribution network, combined with quality of the products, allowed the strengthening in the market of ‘Fattoria della Piana’, at a both regional and national level, and abroad. Pecorino Crotonese cheese is the most exported cheese among the ripe ones: more than 50% of its yearly production is distributed, besides Northern Europe, in the USA and Canada, the leading markets, where this product is widely known and appreciated as a table pecorino cheese and where the company that produces it is present within large-scale retail trade. Fattoria della Piana, that aims at exporting in Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, and other Countries of Northern Europe, too, acts by means of two channels: on the one hand it addresses importers, who directly attend to distribution or have recourse to distributors, on the other hand, mainly in Europe it directly deals with small and medium wholesalers.

Quality, sustainability and export

Absolute attention towards quality, choice of selected raw materials, coming from its land, respect for tradition in production and transformation techniques, a widespread and accurate sales network, and, last but not least, attention for the environment, proved by the installation of production plants of renewable energies are the choices at the roots of an operating strategy that in time brought about success and achievement of Fattoria della Piana all over the world. And its route does not stop here. As a matter of fact, the owner and unique manager explains: «Important investments are in progress aimed at improving the appearance of our cheeses, by means of refining and natural treatments in rind, for protecting our cheeses during their ripening and giving them pleasant natural colours. In addition, we will continue to follow up sustainable development and environmental conservation, in a balance between rediscovery of ancient tradition and innovatory methods of management, as well as increase in company functionality and productivity, and exploration of new markets».

 

Caciocavallo, an evergreen cheese

‘Caciocavallo’, one of the most ancient cheeses of Southern Italy, is another product proposed by Fattoria della Piana among the most renowned and exported abroad, by means of the same channels used for Pecorino Crotonese cheese. Caciocavallo, ripe with kneaded paste, half-cooked, salted in pickle for some days, is produced with cow’s milk and characterized by a lengthened shape similar to a flask, with a rounded base and the head with the shape of a ball, and a thin, smooth and markedly pale yellow rind, that tends to become darker and thicker during its ripening. Its paste is homogeneous, compact, with very light white or pale yellow holes, more intense towards the outer part, less inside; it is characterized by an aromatic flavour, that melts in mouth and becomes spicy during its ripening. ‘Caciocavallo della Piana’ is a table cheese, ideal for a natural matching with bread, vegetables or salads. It is also used for flavouring many courses as well as a second course, for instance grilled. The very ripened cheeses can be also used for grating, in order to flavour pasta, minestrone, and legumes soups.

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