Having reclaimed a marshy area in the Po River plain, the Cistercian monks built Chiaravalle Abbey
and started cultivating crops and rearing livestock. Soon after, their land-based economy led to an increase of food production and a surplus of milk, which far exceeded the modest needs of their community and the local population.
It would have been a shame to waste one of the most nutritious foods available in Middle Ages. Thus, they needed to find a way to be able to preserve the milk for longer periods.