Bitto Cheese of Valgerola
13 March 2016
Bitto Storico is a traditional alpine cheese made from raw milk and produced in the Orobie Alps. It can be found in cylindrical forms ranging from 40-50 cm in diameter and 9-12 cm in height. These forms can weigh between 9 and 20 kgs! Hungry anyone?
Bitto is a traditional cheese born in the Western Orobie Valleys and remains so special thanks to the unique geographical, natural, geopolitical, and cultural conditions in which its made. In the Valtellina Orobie Park, alpine pastures have provided the perfect exposure, humidity, and temperature for cheese production since the Middle Ages.
It’s important to remember that up until the end of the 18th century, hard cheeses were a luxury. The extraordinary quality of Bitto, however, was worth the extra cost of transportation, aging, and middlemen.
Bitto is produced solely in the summer months, in the Alps. The dairy cows and goats (a local variety of Valgerola), were guided to the pastures in June, where they would remain until September if the conditions allowed it. There they would feed, and their milk would be processed immediately following the milking in a structure known as “Calècc”, a kind of dairy farm near the pasture. Tools used to produce the cheese are typically wood, as farmers maintain its superiority for its porosity, allowing the cheese to breathe during the aging process.
For more info, visit www.formaggiobitto.com/bitto-storico