A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Australia, West Coast
Everest Base Camp
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
23rd May 2012
Millions of pounds worth of parmesan cheese has been destroyed in Sunday's earthquake in northern Italy
Italy's earthquake that struck last Sunday killing seven people has also had a devastating effect on the country's culinary industry. The flat agricultural region north of Bologna, where the epicentre of the earthquake hit, is known for its parma ham and bolognese sauce, but it is parmesan producers that were hit the worst.
More than 300,000 wheels of the cheese fell in the quake and reports of damage to the industry range between £64.4 million and £194 million.
Each parmesan wheel weighs 40kg and ages for 12 to 24 months on high shelving, which “toppled over like dominoes,” according to one facility manager. Warehouses will take weeks to clear and cheeses which have broken open may turn mouldy before they can be reached.
Ten storage sites were hit by the quake on Sunday and staff are urgently picking through the damage for unscathed wheels and looking for alternative storage, which must be at the correct temperature and humidity.
Parmesan cheese may only carry that name if it has been aged in the region, but concerns are being raised about whether this will now be possible. Producers are seeking an exception to the rule while the rebuilding of facilities is underway.
Parmesan cheese is considered so valuable that a wheel costing £338, when matured for two years, can be held by the bank as collateral on producers' loans. The loss is “a disaster,” said producer Dante Caretti, “two years work just thrown away. There will be a big hole in the market – you can't just conjure up cheese which took 24 months to produce." However, according to Ivano Chezzi, the manager of another facility, the huge loss does not necessarily mean we will see a rise in the price of parmesan because there has been a recent increase in its production.
The quake has also impacted producers of prosciutto ham with hundreds of pigs killed when the barns they were kept in collapsed. The Prime Minister, Mario Monti, has declared a state of emergency in the region and will release government funds. Aftershocks continue and more than 5,000 are left homeless in the aftermath.
How to find the world's best Parma ham | Blogs... More
Italy essential info | Plan a trip... More
San Marino essential info | Plan a trip... More
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Italy travel guide, Italy tourism and travel information including facts, maps, culture, transport, weather in Italy, and popular places to visit
The food capital of Italy makes a delicious destination for a long weekend – and offers medieval marvels, lively bars and fast cars too
Ever wondered if you could climb a mountain – crampons and all? We sent a climbing novice off to learn the ropes and summit the mighty Mont Blanc...
Venice – a patchwork of islands floating off north Italy – is one dreamy spot, but can be confusing to navigate. Resident Gillian Price helps you get the most out of this magical city
Arriving in November 2015, the park is designed to celebrate Italian cuisine and to help rescue the country's faltering economy
The internet giant has mapped the winding streets and waterways of the city using backpack mounted cameras
Following months of protest against giant ships in the Venice lagoon, the Italian parliament has agreed to a series of restrictions
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
10% off natural mosquito repellent from incognito
7 night Fly Drive Holiday to San Francisco and the Napa Valley from £1,135pp*
Save 43% on train tickets with the Train Line
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too