Based in Sant’Ilario d’Enza (Reggio Emilia), DalterFood Group, an important company in the production of cheese and dairy products that exports to over 45 countries worldwide, has reached another important milestone. In early September, ‘Solo di Pezzata Rossa Italiana’ Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (Exclusively from Pezzata Rossa Italiana cattle) obtained the ‘Mountain Product’ guarantee seal and designation. The product has also received animal welfare and organic certifications.
The ‘Mountain Product’ designation was introduced in 2013 by EU Regulation 1151/12 to classify food products that originate in mountain areas of the European Union. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, in this context, is the most important PDO product produced in the mountains. By adhering to the Mountain Product regulation, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium wanted to create a special project to guarantee origin and quality standards. The indication of origin may only appear on the label if specific requirements are met: 100% of the milk must be milked in mountain barns; more than 60% of the cows’ feed must be cultivated in mountain areas; the dairy must be in a mountain area and maturation, for a minimum of 12 months, must also take place in the same context. The quality selection at 24 months is also carried out with a ‘hammer’ evaluation by the Consortium experts (to test the internal structure of the wheel), together with sensory grading (tasting group) and chemical composition analysis.
Pezzata Rossa Italiana is a breed that originated in Friuli and then spread throughout Italy. The breed’s success has been due to its ability to adapt to even the most difficult environments thanks to its high fertility, resistance to disease, and suitability for both milk and meat production, which makes it particularly ‘sustainable’ for farmers. Since it is very resilient and particularly suitable for organic farming, today the Italian Pezzata Rossa breed is mainly concentrated in mountain areas and, in general, in small to medium-sized family-run barns. ‘Solo di Pezzata Rossa Italiana’ Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese follows all the standards required by this denomination. It is exclusively made with milk from a single farm, the ‘Le Boccede’ farm in the Reggio Emilia hills. The raw material is exclusively processed by the ‘Colline del Cigarello e Canossa’ dairy, owned by the DalterFood Group, which is classified as a mountain dairy by the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium due to its altitude. ‘Sola Pezzata Rossa Italiana’ Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has a guaranteed maturation period of 24 months, at least 12 of which are spent in the mountains.
Another feather in the cap of ‘Solo di Pezzata Rossa Italiana’ Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is the certification of respect for animal welfare, obtained according to the protocol developed by CReNBA, the Italian National Reference Centre for Animal Welfare. In particular, the CReNBA has developed a public standard to monitor the animal welfare status of beef and dairy farms. In order to obtain this important certification and subsequently communicate it, the animal welfare assessment must cover the 4 macro areas of the farm’s activity: farm and personnel management, dairies and equipment, living conditions of the animals on the farm, and biosecurity.
“The ‘Mountain Product’ designation for our ‘Solo di Pezzata Rossa Italiana’ Parmigiano Reggiano cheese,” comments Andrea Guidi, General Manager of DalterFood Group, “adds further value to a very high-quality product. In a market in which consumers are increasingly attentive and interested in enjoying healthy products, we believe that our proposal is totally innovative and perfectly in line with the needs of modern distribution.”