Parmigiano Reggiano da Latte di Sola Bruna Italiana

parmigiano reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano da Latte di sola Bruna from the Valserena farm

Isn’t Parmigiano Reggiano exactly that, or Parmesan if you like? Well, there is Mozzarella di Bufala and then there is Mozzarella from cow’s milk. The original is from Buffalo’s milk. And the same applies to Parmigiano Reggiano. Well, any Parmigiano Reggiano is made from cow’s milk, but as this cheese has become increasingly popular around the world, the need for more milk has exploded and with that the introduction of a high yielding cow. Hence the Holstein making most of the milk for today’s Parmigiano Reggiano. But it’s not the original, that’s the red, white and brown cows respectively. They yield less milk, but milk that is more suited for cheese making. Then there is this thing about sticking to what’s original. Some don’t bother, other’s think that’s important. I belong to the latter.

I do not know how much more milk a Holstein makes a day compared to the originals, but I assume the difference is considerable. And that difference probably means money – and money talks. If you think breed is breed, milk is milk, feeding is feeding, pasture is pasture and even dairy is dairy, well then I thing you are wrong. That’s why the breed thing is so important. It’s about history, culture and not least keeping to the original.

Parmigiano Reggiano of milk from solely brown cows

The brown cow, or Bruna Italiana is an old cow when it comes to making Parmigiano Reggiano. Probably not one of the originals but it has an ideal protein/fat ratio for cheese making. The Bruna Italiana is originally a Brown Swiss that was long ago brought across the alps to the plains of the Po river and has over time become Bruna Italiana as it is known by now – in Italy.

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Parmigiano Reggiano di Latte da sola Bruna 24 mnd

Bruna Italiana is not an extinction threatened breed

Unlike Vacche Rosse and Bianca Modenese where they keep working to rebuild herds, the brown cow is quite widespread most of all because of the cheese making qualities of the milk. Why then is Bruna Italiana so special? Because as I just said of the qualities of the milk and because they are not all that many using this breed for making Parmigiano Reggiano.

Some cheesemakers use some milk, often in blends with other breeds, but the farm Valserena use solely Bruna Italiana (or Vacca Bruna if you like) and have done so since the farm was founded back i 1879. They had a plan and imported the animals from Switzerland. Since then they have worked steadily with farming, cheese making, breeding and not least establish Parmigiano Reggiano with milk from brown cow as a quality brand. Which was crowned in 2005 when the Disolabruna® Consortium was etablished. With the PDO together they represent both protection and recognition.

Valserena – the farm

A farm housing 260 milking cows in addition to calves and pigs. The milk from these 260 milking cows is enough to make 14 cheeses every day. They also grow wheat, corn and sugar beets. The pigs are fed on whey and corn.

Burns night

January 25th, that’s the date. Or that week rather, for practical reasons. Burns night is not one day like 17th of May, but an evening during that week where people gather to celebrate this significant Scottish poet. Robert Burns. You’ve heard the name.

Sp what’s he so famous for? Poems, but most of all Auld Lang Syne. During the celebrations they meet to read poems, sing songs, eat haggis and other Scottish delicasies such as cheese. And drinking whisky. That’s what they do on Burns night.

In week today I have planned to have my burns night celebration during my cheese tasting streaming (which will be in Norwegian by the way). Not so much singing en poetry reading. Scottish cheese and whisky on the other hand, that’s more like it. The thing is there are hardly any cheese from Scotland in this country, apart from Isle of Mull. A wonderful cheese, no doubt but it does not alone make any diversity.

PS. Tonight it’s all about Comté.

Pont l’Évêque from Normandy

Pont l'Évêque
Pont l’Évêque Hossaye

Pont l’Évêque has a lot in common with Livarot, but I find it at times more approachable than the latter. Apart from the fact it is square and difficult to spell Pont l’Évêque it appears milder and more elegant than its perhaps more famous relative – ranking higher as well, colonel as it is. A very pleasing cheese Pont l’Évêque.

Cheese with a history

Pont l’Évêque is known as far back as the 12th century, even under different names, such as d’Angelot according to Its present square look was acquired during the 1800s mostly to distinguish from just the Livarot. As you probably notice from the picture above it is a very appealing cheese, very clean and delicate rind, but don’t be fooled by that. Rightly so, no wolf in sheep’s clothing, but it is a washed rind cheese and it does come with a personality of its own. Usually packed in a wooden box, not being very important other than for safe transport.

Pont l’Évêque – a town and a county

Pont l’Évêque is also a town and a county situated in the department of calvados, a short distance inland from the coast where the more famous beach town of Deauville right south of where the river Seine hits the ocean or the English channel if you like. A wonderful area to visit by the way, full of history, both recent and more distant. Nothing like the mediterranean, and expect a shower or two.

To drink

What to drink with a cheese from an area full of apples? Calvados obviously, the apple brandy. if you find it somewhat on the strong side, there is cider. Still or sparkling, but I recommend dry. Enjoy.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year
Happy New Year!

We are about to leave the decennium where I created OSTEPERLER. It has been years with ups and downs, more or less according to universal laws.

We are about to enter a new decennium and I am looking forward to what that will bring for OSTEPERLER. I have a certain anticipation it will be good.

From our years in the USA we learned that opportunities most likely emerge from where you least expect it. As sore as you may be for being wrong, all the more pleasing to see other doors opening. This makes the years ahead exciting and I am really looking forward to it.

Thanks to my readers, those who get in touch, attending courses, have bought my book (although it is in Norwegian), dairies and other cheese and business competent people appreciating my knowledge and want to make use of it. You are most appreciated all of you. Without you there would be no OSTEPERLER.

A very happy new year to you all.