The recent earthquake on the North of Italy hit hard the production of world-famous Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) cheese.
About 300,000 wheels of cheese were damaged as they fell off the shelves in the warehouses where they were maturing. Each wheel weighs almost 40 kg and requires a strict humidity and temperature regime to reach the required quality. The industry sources quoted in Italian newspapers said that some 10 percent of the production of Parmigiano Reggiano was affected by the quake.
However, they wanted to re-assure the nation that the prices will not increase due to the earlier increase in production. Some cheese producers interviewed by Italian journalists said that they lost up to two years of work. Most of the damaged wheels will be sold to companies making pre-cooked and processed foods at about 20% of the price. A number of cheese factories announced a sale of pieces of precious parmesan that they have managed to rescue directly to the public at a wholesale price and have been overwhelmed with orders.
The official website of the Parmigiano Reggiano consortium stated that most cheese producers continue working at their full capacity and there is nothing to worry about: the supplies of parmesan will not be interrupted. Foodies in Italy and around the world can rest assured, there is enough Parmigiano for their pasta dishes and not even an earthquake can damage the centuries-old Italian quality food traditions.
Contributed by freelance writer AnnaLebedeva
(Photo courtesy of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium)