Produced near Bergamo in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, Quadrello di Bufala is a washed-rind cheese made by brothers Bruno and Alfio Gritti at Caseificio Quattro Portoni.
One of the things that sets this cheese apart is that although it bears several similarities to Taleggio or Brescianella Stagionata, its made from the milk of water buffalo, a practice that is generally much more associated with cheesemaking in southern Italy.
With a strong background in dairy cattle farming, both Bruno and Alfio found they were struggling to make a viable living, largely due to steadily falling fluid milk prices. Although converting to cheesemaking would have added value ot the milk, it would also have put them in direct competition with some of the region’s most dominant dairies.
For that reason, they made the bold decision in 2000 to purchase their first 40 water buffalo from a local Lombardy farmer and, along with some help from an instructor at a local dairy school, began to develop various cheese recipes using the buffalo milk.
Today, with the number of water buffalo nearing 1000 head, Quattro Portoni are producing a number of different cheeses all made from buffalo milk, including Blu di Bufala, Granbu, Casatica and Quadrello.
Quadrello is a washed-rind square weighing roughly five pounds. During cheesemaking, the curd is cut into large chunks and stirred very gently in order to preserve as much moisture as possible before briefly being allowed to drain under its own weight and then transferred into molds.
During the maturation process, cheeses are washed with brine every five to six days in order to encourage the development of the rind before being released for sale at between 35-40 days.