Caseificio Contini di Contini Damiano
Dairy Number: PC516
Via Fontana, 67 - Fr. Bacedasco Basso
29010 Vernasca (PC)
Loc. Caminata, 4 - Bacedasco
29014 - Castell'Arquato (PC)
tel. 0523 895201 - fax 0523 895201
Damiano and Sabrina are a husband-and-wife team.
When they met, Sabrina was a secretary but Damiano persuaded her to join him in the family business. So, out of love, Sabrina came into the world of dairy products and production!
They started selling the Grana Padano produced by the dairy owned by Damiano's parents in markets and with home deliveries.
In 2005, the elder Mr. and Mrs. Contini decided to retire and Sabrina and Damiano chose to carry on the family tradition.
Damiano, together with his 83 year-old uncle who starts work at 5 every morning, produces 6 wheels of Grana Padano a day.
The method of production is the same as that of other dairies, except that it's more artisanal, in the sense that Damiano does a bit of everything. Every evening he collects the milk from the dairy farms with his truck, then he pours it into the skimming tanks and the next morning he starts to make the cheese.
“It's very tough for small producers but I'm 50 years old and I want to try and keep it going.”
He would like to increase production, but then he says jokingly that his uncle won't help him any more. The real problem is placing the product on the market. In fact the only channel is now the dairy shop, run by Sabrina, where they sell Grana Padano, ricotta and the butter which is made by Sabrina herself!
The shop's customers are people passing through and loyal customers.
“One in particular has been coming here to buy his cheese for over 30 years and is a friend by now.”
The family eats a lot of cheese too, Sabrina especially, who also enjoys the crust, cleaned and eaten on its own or in soups and broths.
Damiano still manages to attend some trade shows, though not many because his parents are now beginning to age and need time and attention.
They haven't had a holiday in 11 years as the dairy requires their daily presence. There are no weekends or national holidays, just a lot of hard work.
“You have to get used to working all the time. It was easy for me because it's always been like that. That's what my parents did. When I went to the seaside as a child, my father didn't come with us. With my son it was a bit more complicated and he had to get used to it.”
“My parents advised me not to do this kind of work but the dairy had already been built so I didn't feel I could abandon the business. But you need a lot of passion and determination.”