Although not on the scale of tragedy that equals the loss of human life, this week’s earthquake in Northern Italy still made me heartbroken for the skilled craftspeople who make Parmagiano Reggiano and Grana Padano cheeses. Check out these dramatic still photos to see how the quake affected hundreds of racks of aging wheels.
Nearly two years’ work down the drain. Once the wheels are broken, the aging process stops and mold can enter the interior paste. These wheels are worth up to $1000, and now if they can be salvaged, they’ll have to be grated or chopped down to a fraction of their full value. I feel for the cheese affineurs, who spend hours scrubbing, turning and caring for the wheels in the cave. This will set the economy of Modena back considerably, as cheese is their biggest export. So sad.