Latteria Sociale Stallone Soc. Coop. a r.l.
Dairy Number: PC539
Via Dante Alighieri, 35/A
29010 - Villanova sull'Arda (PC)
tel. 0523 837217 – fax 0523 833742
The Stallone cooperative dairy is located in Villanova d’Arda in the province of Piacenza, a few kilometres from Parma and just a stone’s throw from one of Giuseppe Verdi’s homes: Villa Verdi in Sant’Agata di Villanova, where the composer lived for many years.
These are called “Terre Verdiane”, the lands of Verdi, where the predominant form of land use is farming and the production of Grana Padano PDO.
Giancarlo Pedretti is the president of this dairy, following on from his father Rino. His is a family of real farmers, with strong ties to the dairy and the cooperative, which has made quality its top priority.
In the early days, when Rino was the President of the dairy, the cheese still didn’t have protected origin certification, which was obtained in 1954, and wasn’t called Grana Padano PDO as it is now, but changed its name according to the season in which it was produced: the cheese made from 11 November to 11 April was called “Vernengo”, and the cheese produced from 12 April to 10 November was called “Maggenengo”.
Thanks to the cooperative, the members came to value their product, but in the 70s they also realized the importance of continuously improving its quality. And in order to achieve this, they needed new tools, such as technical assistance, milk sampling, and product testing. So they decided to set up a dedicated body, namely the Colat consortium, whose purpose is to manage technical assistance and testing in its milk laboratory in Fiorenzuola. Many cooperatives registered with the consortium.
The year 1991 opened a very difficult chapter in the history of the dairy. While they were fire-branding the cheese, an accident occurred which resulted in a disastrous fire. There were no deaths or serious injuries, but the ageing storehouse was completely destroyed.
Giancarlo and the head cheesemaker Alberto remember that time very well, recalling especially how supportive all the cooperative members and friends were. They didn’t give up and reacted to the event with their typically positive approach, continuing to produce the cheese and taking it to nearby dairies for ageing. It was tough, but they actually managed to resume production within a few months.
The storehouse currently houses over 20 thousand cheese wheels, and the president and members of the cooperative still meet monthly to discuss their second family: the Stallone cooperative dairy.