A unique cheesemaking tradition has survived in Valtorta, a small town in the Brembana Valley (Lombardy region): in the local cooperative dairy, and in the homes, cheesemakers produce Agrì, a small, cylindrical, uncooked-curd cheese made from whole cow’s milk.
Its production requires three days of work and particular skill on the cheesemaker’s part. Once, when the journey between Valtorta and the bottom of the valley was anything but easy, the women would mix the “pasta di agro” at home, pack it into panniers and bundles and carry it on foot along mountain paths to nearby Valsassina, where the small cheeses were produced. Agrì has a sweet, aromatic flavor and a delicate scent.
Until the postwar period, around 40 farmers made Agrì, but as the area around Bergamo was industrialized, everything changed. Now, the dozen small farms still active in the valley supply a cooperative dairy in Valtorta. Without it, many of the farms would not know how to use their milk and would risk closure. The milk from one of the farms, the closest, is used to make excellent Agrì.
Valtorta Municipality, Bergamo Province