November 29, 2016

Botalla Cheese Company Biella Piedmont

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“Cheesery? Is that a word?” queried my long-suffering American friend, as I posted another photo to my Instagram feed. Her message was accompanied by a pained, eye rolling, emoji. “Yep”, said I, “here I am in Piemonte at a Cheesery. It’s a word. I looked it up”. I suppose a dairy or a creamery is more correct, especially as Cheesery is an American word. But using Cheesery seemed perfect in this instance as our brief tour led us only to the holding racks where the cheeses were being aged. No sight of milk or cream. Nor a cow if I’m honest. This is the Botalla Cheese Company Biella Piedmont in the northern reaches of Italy.

cheesery noun (plural cheeseries) (US) A bakery, cooking house, plant or other factory used for the sole purpose of making cheese. Wiktionary

Regardless of whether its a cheesery, a dairy or creamery it makes for a fascinating visit.

The racks of cheeses are not huge, there are plenty, but this company has a hands-on, artisanal feel. Production is limited to milk from a specific breed of small cow. From the photo in the Botalla promotional leaflet, I think is the Montbeliarde breed, rather than the grey-white Piemontese which is mainly used for beef production. Buffalo milk is also used for making their delicate Maccagno cheese.

Botalla Cheese Company Biella Piedmont

There is one room, high in ammonia, that will catch the back of your throat and, for me at least with my sensitive, delicate, cool blue eyes, force a tear or two to appear.

After the tour, in a brewery bar, conveniently just across the road, we were treated to a cheese lunch. Each was superb. The Sbirro Cheese is fabulous. The round receives a few washes in the beer and after each is rolled in in a mix of cereals. Cereals used in the making of the beer. You simply have to try the cheese with a glass of the beer in hand.

“As in any family, someone is sweeter and someone is more determinated, someone is more traditional and someone love to experiment something new. But everyone is unique. That is what happens in the Botalla Cheese family.

There is Toma, elegant lady with special and intense scents. There is Invecchiato, sometimes crusty but delicious from the heart. And the Botallini, cheese ‘on hand’, small in size but big in taste. Still there is Maccagno, soft and tasty; the Latteria flavours; the freshness of goats cheese. There is the uniqueness of Sbirro, the only cheese with Birra Menabrea, and ImBufalita, the first seasonal cheese made entirely with buffalo milk.” Botalla Formaggi

The Botalla company, founded in 1948, lies in the heart of the Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian) town of Biella. Tours can be arranged with prior notification.

Aging cheese, Botalla
With thanks to the Botalla Cheese Company Biella Piedmont for giving us the tour.

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