Milk is collected daily from farms, 80% of which are situated in the Trentino region and the remaining 20% in the nearby Veneto region. The milk used in the production of cheese is collected following scheduled collections. It is important to note that with DOP cheese products, the selected farms must be within a DOC area - this means that the product must conform to specifications with regard to area, feeding, and product conformity as set out by the relevant consortium. Milk is collected by lorries which are regularly checked by the health authorities and which are washed and sanitized daily.
The production process
1 MILK COLLECTION
2 MILK STORAGE
Once the milk round has been completed, the person in charge of collection transers the content of each tank into the correct storage tanks which have been numbered and identified depending on the DOP product to which they refer.
3 MILK QUALITY CONTROL
Every day, the person in charge of quality control carries out chemical and microbiological analysis on the collected milk. Furthermore, every two weeks tests are carried out on samples taken from all the milk producers as stated in the HACCP guidelines and it is the responsibility of a Sinal laboratory to analyse these. These tests are part of a milk surveillance programme so that any eventual discrepancies can be verified.
4 THE CHEESE-MAKING PROCESS
On the basis of its origin and a production schedule, the milk is made into various types of cheses which include Grana Padano, Asiago Pressato or Mezzano, Provolone Valpadana and others. Nowadays, in order to avoid fermentation or the development of unwanted microorganisms, the milk is refrigerated or pasteurized. The basic process of turning milk into cheese in coagulation, that is to say, the separation of the proteinic substance (the curd), from the liquid (the whey).
5 SHAPING THE CHEESE
Depending on the type of cheese to be produced, the curd is placed in different cheese moulds to obtain the desired shape.
The cheese wheels or other shapes are then salted to enhance the taste but also to help preserve it. Salting takes place either by hand where salt is spread onto the cheese, or in brine. The length of the salting process varies from a few hours to several weeks.
7 THE AGEING PROCESS
At this point the cheese is stored where it ages and matures: in this phase of the process changes take place in the main elements present, that is to say, fat, proteins and lactose, along with the formation of those substances which will give the cheese specific organoleptic characteristics.
The dairy has on its premises a packaging department for DOP products authorized by the different cheese consortiums where Grana Padano, Asiago Pressato and Allevo, Provolone Valpadana are cut and wrapped. The products are packaged using our own brandname as well as others. Besides DOP products, Casearia Monti Trentini S.p.a. also packages other special types of cheese such as cubed pieces for bruschettas, Pannarello, Pan di Cacio, and Provolone in slices.
The dairy dispatches orders throughout the north of Italy with its own lorries and uses certified carriers for the rest of the country and Europe. Deliveries overseas are sent using refrigerated containers which guarantees that the product is always kept cool.