Raw cow milk cheese aged underneath the Breno Castle


Raw cow milk cheese aged underneath the Breno Castle

Bré cheese is processed in the month of July, at the peak of the flowering of the pastures, when the Bruna alpine cows are in the pastures, between 1,800 and 2,000 metres.
Brè was created in a unique territory that preserves species and genetic diversity, landscapes and ecosystems: a highly natural protected area.

Excellent cheese has always been produced on the pastures and shielings of Breno (Brè in the Camunian dialect). In 2012 the producers and the council administration decided to give an identity, a brand and production specification to the cheese produced in the shielings of Bazena, Bazenina, Val Bona, Gaver, Cadino Banca, Blumone, Laione, and Malghetta, owned by the council.

Bré is made with semi-skimmed and semi-cooked raw alpine milk, with the addition of biological rennet, salt and saffron.
The processing is traditional: the milk from one or two milking processes is left to rest for 12 hours, then is partially skimmed and placed in a copper cauldron to cook.
At the end of the pasture season, the Bré wheels are transferred to the valley and placed in the tunnels below the medieval castle of Breno, to age.
The natural characteristics of the tunnels, their constant temperature and humidity, affect the appearance, colour, shape, aroma, flavour and consistency of the product. Its natural rind, which is hard and compact, is straw yellow tending to brown. The paste has a consistent structure, slightly straw yellow in colour, with visible and not very widespread holes.
The taste is marked but delicate, fragrant, with a characteristic aroma. Each wheel is unique, with its own scent, which is a memory of the grass, the only food cows are allowed. The wheels are branded.

Bré cheese is produced exclusively in summer, when the cows are in some of the best mountain pastures in the entire Lombardy region. After at least eighteen months of aging, Brè is ready to be eaten.

The aging of Brè cheese takes place in the tunnels of the Breno air-raid shelter, dug under the castle hill during the Second World War, to defend people from air raids.
Often entire classes of schoolchildren flocked there waiting for the worst to pass, and in the village, there are still many who remember facts and events.

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Cuisine and territory have always been linked, not so much because of the belief that what is born behind the house is better than the rest, but simply because local products were immediately available to those who had to cook.
Traditional cuisine, which is seasonal, derives from what has happened over time in a place and from the products of that place.