Di Pasquo cheese story: from nonno Ciccillo to Di Pasquo sisters
Caseificio Di Pasquo was born of Nonno Ciccillo, a well-known milkman in Agnone, and of his love for milk. With his passion and devotion, he set the stage for what has become, over the course of three generations, a real pride of Alto Molise dairy farming.
It was 1956 when Francesco Di Pasquo, also known as Ciccillo, started working as a milkman in Agnone, supplying fresh milk to the local families every morning. Working in a small town, he soon became familiar with all the locals. In the same year, his dedication to work and the constant support of his wife, Cristina (Nonna Tina), led him to the purchasing of a small dairy store in the center of the town. Since the very beginning, Ciccillo showed incredible mastery in milk processing, so much that in just a few years the small store became a handicraft cheese-making lab where the milk was processed according to the Alto Molise dairy traditions. There he started producing his genuine and high-quality Italian cheeses.
1956 is the year the history of Caseificio Di Pasquo began. A family history made of three generations of hardheaded men, strong women, and top-quality cheese.
1956 is the year our story began.
Papà Lorenzo and Mamma Amelia
The young son of Nonno Ciccillo and Nonna Tina, papà Lorenzo Di Pasquo, immediately shared his father’s same passion and love for milk. That’s why he decided to move to Emilia-Romagna to study the dairy techniques of milk processing. After completing his studies, he got back to Agnone and started making cheeses with a unique flavor able to conquer and excite even the most demanding palates. Thanks to him, the small lab turned into a real dairy company aimed at the production of fresh and aged quality cheese made in Molise.
In 1970, Nonna Tina opened and managed the first and still-active Di Pasquo dairy store in the center of Agnone.
In order to improve his skills and promote the Di Pasquo brand and the typical products of the Alto Molise, Lorenzo Di Pasquo is often away from home traveling across Italy and abroad. During his trips, his wife, mamma Amelia, takes care of both the family and the dairy. Amelia, which is a strong and restless mother, runs the family business with great professionalism being the perfect production manager. Thanks to her supervision, the production line goes steady, always supplying extreme quality cheeses, which are the pride of our brand.
Full-time parents and master cheesemakers, Papà Lorenzo and Mamma Amelia made the Di Pasquo brand one of the symbols of the Molise cheesemaking tradition. A mark of quality known all over the world.
From father to daughters: a female-led dairy company
The passion for the cheesemaking tradition and the love for milk spread from Lorenzo and Amelia to their four daughters, Donatella, Debora, Fabiola and Martina. In the meanwhile, the dairy factory is renewed and expanded. While preserving the artisan nature that has always characterized it, it becomes a modern and efficient women-led company.
With the constant support of Papà Lorenzo and Mamma Amelia, the Di Pasquo sisters are currently leading the cheese factory, making sure that it keeps on producing high-quality stretched curd cheese processed according to the Molise dairy tradition.
The deep knowledge of the ingredients, the production skills handed down for three generations and the constant search for good taste are the distinctive elements that have made Di Pasquo dairy a point of reference in the Molise and Italian dairy world. That’s why Di Pasquo aged cheeses are manually fire-branded. Our fire-heated mark is a guarantee of quality and, also, an indelible mark in our hearts and in the hearts of our customers.
Francesco Di Pasquo (Ciccillo), a well-known milkman in Agnone, purchases a small dairy store in the center of the town. After a few years, he turned it into a handicraft cheese-making lab where to produce fresh and aged dairy products, including the renowned Di Pasquo’s caciocavallo.
While Nonno Ciccillo takes care of the cheesemaking process, Nonna Tina opens thefirst and still-active Di Pasquo dairy store, which also includes the ancient cheese cellar where our tastings and guided tours take place.
Lorenzo Di Pasquo, the 3rd son of Nonno Ciccillo e Nonna Tina, graduates as a master cheesemaker at the “Lazzaro Spallanzani” Professional Institute for Agriculture in Castelfranco Emilia (MO).
Lorenzo gets back to Molise and takes over the management of the company.
Due to the growing success of Di Pasquo products, a new dairy factory opens in the industrial area of Agnone, while the old lab is closed. Caseificio Di Pasquo starts producing a larger quantity of cheeses in order to meet the increasing demands of the mass retailers and the HORECA sector.
Lorenzo keeps on experimenting and perfecting his cheesemaking skills. During this year, he creates one of the first Di Pasquo’s original products, the Tufone, a hard cheese naturally aged in tuff caves. Unique and tasty, the Tufone is like a soft-hearted giant characterized by an intense aroma and luscious flavors of the paste.
The success of the Tufone and Lorenzo’s continuous experiments gave birth to the Montagnone, a soft table cheese inspired by the mountains of the Alto Molise.
The leading sisters, Donatella, Debora, Fabiola, and Martina start a restyling process involving the entire brand. They aim at refreshing the corporate identity making sure that it communicates the core values of their brand. The new logo Di Pasquo – Agnone is born.
The growing demand for Di Pasquo’s cheeses leads to the expansion of the production facilities. The structure is enlarged going from 3,000 to 5,000 square meters on an area of 10,000 SQM. Each production phase has now a dedicated working space.
Agnone and Alto Molise: dairy tradition and territory
Caseificio Di Pasquo is based in Agnone, a small town in Alto Molise. The town is located on the Central Apennines at 830 meters above sea level. It is full of woods and meadows, that’s why it has always been a land of transhumance. Thanks to its origins and territory, Agnone boasts an ancient and rich agro-pastoral and dairy tradition, typical of most of the towns in Molise.
Molise cheesemaking is an art deeply rooted in the old route of the herdsmen traveling across the region to the Gargano plains. It comes from the milk processing skills of transhumant shepherds handed down for centuries within the families in Agnone.
Since its origins, Agnone has been a land of pastures and transhumance, a land of arrivals and departures crossed and inhabited by shepherds, masters of milk and holders of timeless art. It is in this uncontaminated scenario that Di Pasquo dairy was born, as a result of a passion handed down from generation to generation and an ancient knowledge rooted in the territory of Agnone.
How cheese is made
Processing begins with the collection of raw milk, the main ingredient of dairy production. All our products are made with certified-quality cow’s milk coming from trusted Italian farms.
FILTRATION AND STORAGE
Once collected, the milk is filtered and then stored inside isothermal silos at a controlled temperature (0 ° – 4º). From here, the filtered milk is then sent to the processing line.
Before being processed, the milk needs to be pasteurized. Pasteurization is a thermal process used to make the milk sterile and safe by eliminating any pathogen. Di Pasquo cheeses are made with 100% pasteurized cow’s milk.
ACIDIFYING AND CURDLING
The pasteurized milk is poured into polyvalent boilers. Then, some cultures are added to the milk to make it ferment and become more acidic. At this stage, adding the rennet causes a reaction that curdles the milk, creating curds. This process takes different hours and it is constantly monitored by expert cheesemakers, who check the cheese milk until it reaches the proper compactness.
CUTTING AND DRAINING
As the solid curd forms, the curds are cut into small pieces in order to separate the curds and whey mixture. The curds are drained into fermentation tanks. Part of the fat whey is used for making our ricotta, another part is skimmed to obtain milk creams for our butter. Rather than being disposed of as production waste, the low-fat whey is used by other companies for the manufacturing of different products.
RIPENING AND FILATURA
During the ripening, the curds are left to acidify in the whey over a period of time. At this stage, a specific chemical reaction modifies the structure of the basic molecule of the cheese giving the paste an elastic consistency that allows the filatura. This process consists of a plasticizing and kneading treatment of the fresh curd in hot water, which gives the paste a fibrous structure.
Some stretch-curd fresh and aged cheeses are shaped manually, others are pressed into a mold or basket to create standardized shapes. If necessary, the binding is always done by hand.
Once shaped, the dairy products are soaked in cold water and then into the brine. The cold water makes the cheeses harden while the brine makes them salty.
After the salting stage, fresh cheeses are packed, while ripened ones are left to dry and mature. Then, they undergo an aging treatment lasting from 30 days to 1 year.
Once ready, all dairy products are packed and labeled either in single or multiple packs. Then, they are ready to be supplied to our customers.
Di Pasquo’s signature products, namely Caciocavallo, Tufone and Cacio Campana are fire-branded to guarantee maximum quality and origin.
At the end of the process, our fresh and mature cheeses are distributed to our resellers and point of sales through a company fleet of refrigerated vehicles operating under controlled conditions.