Northern Italy is rich in a lot of things, from art to agriculture to cuisine. Along with its world-renowned wines and cured meats, the country’s northern region is famous for unique cheeses like the Parmigiano-Reggiano of Lombardy and Grana Padano of Veneto. But this past weekend dealt a serious blow to northern Italy’s cheese industry – a 6.0 magnitude earthquake ripped through regions from Emilia-Romagna to Veneto, leading to the collapse of historic buildings and factories alike. Among the casualties: massive amounts of northern Italy’s famous cheeses.
The UK’s Mirror reported on the wreckage, along with painful photographs of toppled shelves and cracked cheese wheels from a Parma-based Parmigiano-Reggiano factory:
The region's cheese industry has been devastated by the magnitude-6.0 earthquake, with tonnes of Parmesan and Grana Padano lost. A single wheel of cheese can weigh up to 90 pounds.
"The earthquake was very strong and heavily damaged the structures of many warehouses as well as thousands of tonnes" of the two cheeses, said Stefano Berni, head of a consortium that protects the Grana Padano designation.
"It's a very heavy loss, but there have been no casualties, which is a great relief at this worrying time," he told the ANSA news agency.
Reports continue that the initial estimate of 250 million Euros’ worth of damage may be a rather conservative estimate – what’s more, any aftershocks could make matters worse if still-intact wheels are made unsalvageable.
But while the loss of so much delicious cheese is obviously devastating, Berni also noted in the report that no lives within the cheese industry were lost as a result of the earthquake. The Mirror article points out that three hundred were lost in a similar earthquake that hit Italy in 2009. With that considered, losing a few tons of dairy is a very small price to pay.