The Bitto Center is the headquarters of the Valli del Bitto Trading S.p.A. company and of the Save Heritage Bitto Consortium. These headquarters are in Gerola Alta, in the “Casèra”, where it is possible to age Bitto cheeses for up to 10 years.
The process of giving value to Heritage cheese of the Bitto valley began in 2002 when 16 cheesemakers, represented by Paolo Ciapparelli, formed the Associazione Valli del Bitto and created a set of rules that respected traditional work methods (Heritage).
From the Association to the Consortium
The aim of the association was to preserve a series of traditional practices that guaranteed the quality of the product, as well as conserving the environment and the alpine biodiversity.
In 2003, the association gained the recognition of Slow Food Presidia. It was then decided to invest resources in the creation of a Casera in Gerola Alta (cheese cellar where the cheeses can be left to ripen and mature), where the producers could keep the Heritage cheese which they made according to tradition, once they returned from the summer pastures.
The Save Heritage Bitto Consortium, which has taken the place of the earlier association, is funded by Valli del Bitto S.p.A. This company manages the Casèra (cheese cellar), guarantees to buy the cheeses at an ethical price, and sells and promotes this excellent product on a national and international level.
The Consortium has always aimed at preserving the quality of this amazing cheese, selecting only the best cheeses to be kept in the Casèra for up to 10 years.
The Casèra was built in this little village of Gerola Alta in order to give value to the historical area of the alpine pastures of the Bitto valleys. These valleys, and Heritage cheese, are named after the river that flows from them. The preservation of this product, conducted by the Consorzio Bitto Storico, is possible thanks to the passion and dedication of local entrepreneurs, without which it would not have been possible to build the Caséra in Gerola Alta.
The aim is not only that of preserving Storico and its environment, but also that of creating jobs and encouraging people to live in the mountain villages. In order to create a better economy in this alpine region it’s very important to rediscover and give value to one’s own history and traditions.