As if there is not enough to worry about in Europe with the euro, the earthquake in northern Italy has made an enormous impact on the most famous Italian cheese Parmigiano Reggiano and its equally popular cousin, Grana Padano, with production losses of up to 10%.
This crushing disaster, with the loss of lives and land centering around San Giovanni near to Bologna, will no doubt bring hardship to the farmers and the cheesemakers.
How will the animals that have endured this quake be affected? Something like this brings not only destruction of the grazing pastures, which are the main source of fodder, but also the shock to the livestock affects the quality and quantity of the milk production. Around 550 litres of cows’ milk make just one Parmigiano Reggiano, and with grasslands needing to be resown, herds depleted and their milk quality affected, it will be years before production can be restored to any decent level for selling.
All the younger cheeses aged up to six months would have been entirely ruined, as well as the brine baths where young cheeses are left to soak up the salty water. We can assume that prices for parmesan and Grana will increase, even though Grana is produced in a much wider area than parmesan’s very specific locations.