21 September

Natural Cheese: From pastures and breeds to raw milk and natural starters

Bra-Principi di Piemonte

To take things to an extreme, natural cheese and industrial cheese are the two antipodes of the dairy world.

While the first category—a tiny percentage of cheeses found on the market today—convey a profound relationship with their place of origin, and infinite layers of aroma and flavor, the second—accounting for the vast majority of cheese on sale—represent the standardization and homogenization of taste.

The origins of cheese lie in the fresh grass and hay of pastures and meadows, an animal breed that lives in harmony with its environment, milk which is naturally rich in lactic bacteria which is worked with raw, soon after milking. Then there’s the expertise of the cheesemaker, who doesn’t use selected starter cultures to initiate the fermentation process, but the natural starter derived from raw milk or the remaining whey from the previous days’ work. Industrial cheeses start with milk from a few breeds selected for their high productivity and fed with corn silage. This milk is then transported far from its place of origin, pasteurized to eliminate bacteria count, and selected lactic ferments (starter cultures) are added to supplement its microbial flora.

What challenges and risks face those who choose to make natural cheese? What are the advantages for the consumer prepared to pay a higher price for it? And beyond questions of taste, what are the implications of natural cheese for our health, our society and our environment?


David Asher, cheesemaker and author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking

Andrea Cavallero, professor of Alpiculture at the University of Turin

Giampaolo Gaiarin, Fondazione Edmund Mach, coordinator of Slow Food Presidia in Trentino

Patrick Mercier, producer of Natural Farmhouse Camembert (Slow Food Presidium)

Bronwen Percival, co-author of Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes and the Fight for Real Cheese and co-founder of MicrobialFoods.org, and technical manager at Neal’s Yard Dairy (UK)

Piero Sardo, President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

Nicola Bertinelli, President of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium


Luca Martinelli, journalist

Free entry while seats last. Auditorium CRB Bra: via Adolfo Sarti, 8.

21 September

11:00 - 13:00

Auditorium CRB