SA cheesemaker plans for new home in state-of-the-art manufacturing plant

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By Helen Randell

Celebrating 30 years of success in cheesemaking, South Australian family business La Casa Del Formaggio has recently announced their move to a new state-of-the-art cheese manufacturing plant, to be built in 2020.

Renowned for their award-winning cheese products including ricotta, bocconcini, mozzarella, pecorino, parmesan, haloumi and burrata, La Casa Del Formaggio will expand from their current site at Glynde, north-east of Adelaide, to the Northern Adelaide Food Park.

The food park at Edinburgh Parks about 25km from the CBD is a food processing and manufacturing hub allowing businesses to innovate and collaborate with industry to access international markets.

La Casa Del Formaggio’s managing director, Claude Cicchiello, says the business is currently in the master planning stages of what they believe will be one of Australia’s best cheese manufacturing facilities.

Cherry bocconcini being made in the Glynde factory.

“I feel very fortunate we’ve been able to do what we love for 30 years, and we’re excited at the opportunity to expand our operations,” he says.

“The world-class modern facility will allow us to continue to produce cheese and dairy products for the Australian consumer, foodservice and export markets.”

Claude’s parents Gerardo and Rosa Cicchiello, migrants from Italy, started the business in 1988. It grew slowly and organically from its origins as a small operation supplying only the Cicchiello’s own continental deli, before higher demand saw the deli close and the cheesemaking operations take centre stage. Today, the business employs 130 people and supplies fresh cheese products Australia wide.

“Our family introduced bocconcini into the Australian market,” Claude says. “It was a product that was foreign to many families who were not used to enjoying fresh cheeses in their meals.”

“However, our local European community was certainly glad to find the product available, and over time we educated consumers through recipe sharing and cooking demonstrations.

“We also had a bit of luck in the early days with celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver using the products in his recipes.”

Claude’s sister Marissa behind the counter at La Casa Del Formaggio’s retail shop.

In the early 1990s Claude successfully implemented manufacturing processes that enabled the bocconcini product to be transported from the manufacturing facility onto supermarket shelves. The bocconcini products are still their number one seller.

“The Australian palate has certainly changed over the past 20 years. I remember a time when it was all about cheddar, with some blue and a little brie, but the demand for fresh cheese has taken off,” Claude says.

“We’re always keeping a close eye on European cheese trends, and our traditional hands-on cheese making techniques allow us to develop these products for the Australian market.

“Last year we launched our burrata – a delicate shell of fresh mozzarella that encases a decadent filling of stracciatella (mozzarella shreds soaked in cream), and it’s already proving to be very popular.”

Claude, left, and his father Gerardo in the factory.

Claude says making a consistent high-quality fresh cheese is not as simple as following a recipe.

“The milk from which you make the cheese changes regularly, and our cheese-makers need to adjust accordingly – it really is an art,” he says.

Along with the new facility at Edinburgh Park, Claude looks forward to maintaining a presence at their current location in Glynde, with a small cheesemaking operation and sales outlet open to the public.

“We still want to honour our home,” he says. “I love South Australia and I couldn’t imagine doing business and living anywhere else.”

Burrata features a delicate shell of fresh mozzarella encasing stracciatella.

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