Our favourite cheese has always been Gorgonzola. It’s one of the most iconic and most authentic products in the world. It’s a precious jewel in our tradition worth promoting globally to give the opportunity to more and more people to taste it.
The production of Gorgonzola is mainly located in northern Italy, however, the biggest producers are in the province of Novara and Palzola is one of them.
Established in 1948 by the Paltrinieri family, Palzola is known today for its high quality and very creamy Gorgonzola. They also produce other types of gorgonzola, like the spicy Gorgonzola (the “spicy” does not have neither pepper nor chilli, but it is so called for its masculine and pronounced taste) and the Gorgonzola with chilli (this one is really spicy and it’s called Palfuoco).
Recently, they started producing other types of cheeses such as toma and erborinato.
We have been invited to visit the Palzola factory by Giacomo Poletti, the owner’s son. A unique occasion to see first-hand how to produce this fantastic cheese.
Our journey begins around 9 am, at the Palzola factory in Cavallirio, in the province of Novara.
We start our tour at the first step of production: the milk arrives around 4.30 am and it’s stored in huge cylinders. The milk is then pasteurised and it’s poured in large tubs where the operator adds the milk enzymes, Penicillium and different yeasts.
After 40 minutes, the liquid is then put in small cylinders which will give the Gorgonzola its classic shape.The cheese wheels are then stored in rooms at a controlled temperature, where the different operators occasionally clean and turn in order to keep the moulds stable. Salt is added and then, the ageing process begins. According to the regulation, Gorgonzola must be aged for at least 60 days before it’s sold to the public, however, Palzola ages its cheese for 90 days, thus achieving a soft and creamy product. For the spicy one, the ageing period is about 90 days, but to guarantee a better cheese, Palzola ages it for 120 days.
The regulation for the Gorgonzola production is very strict and the ageing period is the only matter where the producers can distinguish themselves from the competitors.
After 90 days (or 120 for the spicy version), the Gorgonzola arrives at its final stage. The cheese wheels are cut, wrapped in foil paper and sealed. The last department then prepares the different boxes which will be shipped by the end of the day. It was a unique experience to visit the factory. A huge thank you to Palzola for having us!
We had the opportunity to see with our own eyes the production of an Italian symbol. Whether we are consumers, resellers or producers, we need to understand the importance of these symbols and appreciate them. They are a part of our tradition and it’s our job to keep them alive.
Do you love Gorgonzola? Let us know in the comments!
Nikas & Tommaso