Trentino’s first grana cheeses were made in 1925 by Michele Marchesi at the cooperative dairy in the small town of Rumo in the Non Valley, Trentino. Originally from there, Marchesi had been working in Mirandola, in the province of Mantua, where he learned how to make grana. The cheesemaking style spread quickly: by 1934 there were 12 dairies in the Non Valley making grana, and 40 years later, in 1973, the Trentingrana denomination was established, along with a consortium that united all the grana dairies in Trentino.
The technique is similar to that used for Grana Padano and Parmigiano. The mountain-pasture milk from two milkings, once naturally skimmed, is transferred to copper cauldrons in the shape of upturned bells. Each cauldron holds enough milk to make two forms of cheese. The whey starter from the previous day’s cheesemaking is added to the cauldron. Then, once the milk has been heated to 31-33°C, calf rennet is added for coagulation. After 10 to 13 minutes, the curd is broken using a whisk known as a spino, then cooked again, while stirring, until it reaches 53-55°C. The curds in the bottom of the cauldron are left to rest for around an hour while they drain and firm up. Then the cheesemaker, using a wooden paddle and a cloth, lifts the curd out of the cauldron, places it in another linen or cotton cloth and cuts it into two equal parts (this phase is known as gemellatura, “twinning”). The two masses are then transferred to molds set on a wooden board, in which they are lightly pressed. The forms are brined for 20 to 24 days before being aged. After 9 months, if free from defects, the cheese can be sold, but the forms are branded on their flat sides only after 18 months.
What distinguishes the mountain version of Trentingrana is the raw material, in other words, the milk. The cows (of various breeds, including Bruna, Friesian, Pezzata Rossa, Grigio Alpina, Rendena, Pinzgau and their crossbreeds) are brought to the mountain pastures in the summer, and during this season return to the cowshed only for milking. As well as grass, their diet includes a small supplement of non-GM cereals.
The result is a cheese with complex fragrances and flavors, significantly different from the cheeses made further down in the valley. Herbaceous notes dominate, with hints of caramel and a gentle astringency.
Mountain Trentingrana is made during the period when the cows graze in Alpine pastures, from early June to the end of September, and is aged for at least 18 months.
Mountain Trentingrana is made using milk from six different Alpine pastures. Each summer’s yield is around 800 to 1,000 forms, depending on the conditions and availability of grass.
Sole and Primiero valleys, Trento province
Presidium supported by:
Consorzio dei Caseifici Sociali Trentini
Via Roma, 179
Mezzano di Primiero (Tn)
tel. +39 0439 62941
The dairy processes milk from the following mountain pastures: Vengiota (at an altitude of 1,824 meters above sea level), Pala (1,900 meters) and Vallazza (1,935 meters) in the Primiero San Martino di Castrozza municipality; Fosse (1,954) in the Siror municipality; and Juribello (1,868 meters) and Rolle (1,980) in the Tonadico municipality. The pastures are in the Primiero valley.
Hut number TN310
Caseificio Sociale Presanella di Mezzana
Via Quirino Bezzi, 1
tel. +39 0463 757282
The dairy processes milk from the Valbiolo pasture (2,000 meters) in the Vermiglio municipality in the Sole valley.
Hut number TN314