Caseificio Giovanni Invernizzi Srl
Dairy Number: BG507
Via Mazzini, 40
24040 - Pontirolo Nuovo (BG)
tel 0363 880145 – fax 0363 330343
It all started with Signora Teresa, who back in the 50s opened a store in Pontirolo Nuovo where she collected milk from the dairy farmers and made stracchino and formaggelle. Her destiny would intertwine with that of Giovanni Invernizzi, and four children were born from their union: Mario, Luigi, Giuseppe and Arturo. Today we are with Signor Giuseppe, a sprightly eighty-seven year old who fondly remembers the old days. He would start work at dawn, but that didn’t stop him from going out dancing in the evening, and with the energy he derived from his work, he “made the girls fly in the air!”
He tells us that collecting milk was no easy task back then: “There wasn’t very much of it and we had to go and collect it from the few dairy farms that produced it, using incredibly heavy iron churns which were carried on horse drawn carts. And the roads were just gravel tracks with no lighting.”
Once home, the churns always had to be emptied by hand and buckets.
And the whey left over from the cheesemaking process also had to be taken out of the vats with buckets. “Che tribulade!!” (What a lot of hard work) comments Giuseppe in his Bergamo dialect.
With the little milk they collected, Signora Teresa would make stracchino and mozzarella, which she tried to sell at her store and to other retailers who would use any means to bring the price down, including complaining about the quality of the cheese - something Giuseppe was not happy about.
So, one day, he took a few cheeses and some scales and set off on his moped. He managed to sell all his products to consumers at the market, and earned much more that way!!
From that day on, the Invernizzi family started to sell directly at the various town markets.
In the early days, the stalls had to be set up from scratch at every market place, piece e by piece. They would start work at 5 in the morning and wouldn’t get home until 2 in the afternoon.
“So many adventures, so bitterly cold and so much fog: from October through to January you couldn’t see a thing. But with a few drops of grappa we warmed up our days.”
It was a great success right from the start, Giuseppe tells us proudly, and when he got to market there would already be a queue waiting for him!
This success at selling was what spurred his family into producing Grana Padano.
With the introduction of rules and regulations for production, the cattle diet changed and as a result the quality of the milk improved considerably. Clearly the dairies had to adapt and learn the correct milk processing methods in order to produce the cheese but, fortunately, the newly-established Consortium for the Protection of Grana Padano helped them stay on the right track. And this ensured that they have always had an excellent product!
Giuseppe is delighted that his children Franco, Paolo, Marco, Giuseppina and Raffaella are working in the family business, and that his grandson Livio is the cheesemaker. The latest recruit is 17-year-old Ivan, who attends the food and agriculture college in Caravaggio and does the training part of his course at the cheese plant.
Paolo says: “We’ve all grown up with the family business, it’s impossible not to feel it as our own: we’ve dedicated our lives to it.”
Giuseppe is truly an amazing man whose incredible energy is highly infectious, and we’d love to sit and listen to him for days. We thank him and his great family for being part of the history of Grana Padano.