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, it's 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 to 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. To make Quadrello, fresh milk is pasteurized and then sent into a special boiler into which ferments and rennet are also added. The resulting curd is cut, spun, and left to rest. When the cheesemakers remove the curd from the boiler, they place it in molds that are subjected to steam and then allowed to rest at room temperature. At the end of the steaming, the product is salted in brine.
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.
The texture of Quadrello is soft and fudge-like, with an interior paste that is bone white in color–a reflection of the buffalo milk. The rind is pale orange in color, dotted with occasional white mold, and marked with deep striations that result from being drained on straw.
Expect aromas of earth and mushrooms, with flavors of sweet cream, grass, and hay.
Pair with off-dry or fruity white wines.