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  • Writer's pictureStefania Gioia

Perenzin: How to Become a Cheesemaker, and a Lot More...

Updated: Jul 12, 2018

Emanuela was born in a family of cheesemakers, inherited her ancestors' passion and, with her family, brought Perenzin dairy to be an international benchmark for cheese lovers and professionals.

The first documented proofs of Perenzin dairy's existence trace back to the early 1900s, although we know that the family used to collect milk even before 1906. Emanuela Perenzin, who currently leads the company along with her husband and with the help of her sons, was able to put together her precious memories, the relatives’ tales and some company papers. As in an old movie directed by Olmi or Fellini, the family’s history flows through her lenses, depicting a small creamery where a stream of fresh water served to keep cool cheeses, butter and cream.

Her grandfather, who was also a pig farmer, once off work used to wear an elegant fedora and a refined coat. His cheese was named and marked “San Pietro in Feletto”, after the location where the dairy is based. As of today, the old aluminium stamp is broken in two pieces: “San Pietro” marks a hard cheese very close to Montasio, while “Feletto” names a soft cheese that needs only 10-30 days of maturing.

Looking through drawers and browsing the rooms of the old family house, Emanuela found antique objects and letters exchanged with some relatives who had moved to the United States: altogether these items map out the history of a family and a dairy that were able to get through the hard times, always innovating and keeping high the quality of the products. The cheesemaking techniques, applied on several types of milk, are still totally natural, while the ageing, based on 100 years old procedures, is made with hay, pepper, walnut leaves, wine or beer. When clients complain about mold, which easily grows on Perenzin cheeses, Emanuela smiles in the local dialect: “Manco mal che ‘l fa la muffa!” - thank God it grows mold! That means you’ve bought a natural cheese.

The real breakthrough happened in the 2000s, when the company started to work with biologic goat milk and began to export its products to Northern Europe and overseas. At the time, schooled by her father, Emanuela was already running the business along with her husband Carlo Piccoli, a Master Cheese Taster with ONAF diploma. Together in 2012 they won as Best Cheese Professional in the competition Alma Caseus. In the same period, they launched the P.E.R. (Percorsi Enogastronomici di Ricerca) - food and wine research journeys, opening a cheese bar and organizing a program of tastings and cheesemaking classes.

Passionate and relentless, the couple, supported by its sons, gave also life to the International Academy of Cheese Making Art, a non-profit association that aims to promote all aspects of the cheesemaking art. Whether you are a simple amateur or a field’s professional, you can attend a full-day or a full-week course spread in several hours of theory and practice. This precious initiative represents the possibility to pass down a natural food culture, in a facility that was built by local artisans, in the heart of Prosecco region and with total respect for the environment.

Visiting Perenzin dairy is an emotional journey through generations of passionate cheesemakers who deeply loved their land and understood that progress must be a mix between inherited knowledge and innovation. Have a Glass in Venice is happy to recommend this experience, included in its Prosecco wine region tours.

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