Sustainable Piedmontese Cheesemaking with Caseificio Paje

Caseificio Paje merges the art of cheesemaking with environmentally conscious sourcing and practices. Situated within their local Piedmont community, they partner with three neighboring farmers to ensure an exceptional selection of raw materials. At the heart of Paje lies an unwavering commitment to sustainability and the art of traditional Piedmontese cheesemaking.

Once professionals in the IT realm, the journey of the founders of Caseificio Paje, Paolo and Denise, seems like a leap at first glance. However, this dramatic shift of careers wasn’t a detour – but rather a thoughtful stride towards a lifestyle that resonated with their deep-rooted values. Captivated by artisanal cheesemaking and organic farming, the dedicated couple embarked on an adventure to produce organic cheeses in harmony with nature. Despite lacking a familial legacy in cheese-making, their passion has fostered a mastery of their craft. 

Personal connections lie at the heart of their operations. They have cultivated relationships with two local organic farmers, one of whom, Giuliano, specializes in sheep and goat farming, while the other rear cows in Valle d’Aosta. The cheeses we have chosen to introduce to our collection are all made using local goat’s milk (breeds include Camosciata and Saanen). These farms are certified biodynamic in Italy, which means they use a closed-loop system of sourcing feed (fresh fodder of clover and hay, plus some cereals like corn and soy) and take a sustainable, holistic approach. They also believe in nurturing a healthy relationship with the animals, emphasizing their wellbeing and comfort. This perspective enhances the quality of the milk, contributing significantly to the taste of the final product.

Paje ensures only the best ingredients make it to their cheese. Take rennet, for example – an essential part of cheesemaking, it is a coagulating agent that binds the milk. Rennet is usually derived from the stomach lining of young ruminants (calves). However, Paje respects vegetarian sensitivities, thus incorporating vegetable rennet from cardoon and thistle into their processes.


Understanding the delicate balance between tradition and health benefits, Paje has opted for low-temperature pasteurization. This process is a nod to age-old cheese-making practices to ensure the original flavors and subtleties of the milk are retained. Low-temperature pasteurization, unlike traditional high-heat methods, carefully manipulates temperature to kill potentially harmful bacteria without compromising the robust and nuanced flavors naturally present in the milk. This technique finely balances safety and taste, maintaining the rich, distinct character of the cheese and assuring the high quality of the final product that Paje is known for.

Now, what are these delicious Piedmontese goat cheeses? First is Toma di Capra. This is a semi-hard cheese that showcases the traditional Italian “toma” style, but with local goat’s milk (“capra” is Italian for goat). Its natural gray-brown rind gives way to a creamy and pristine paste. Due to its minimal 40 to 60-day maturation, the texture is smooth and elastic, while retaining firmness. This cheese is mellow in flavor – young, sweet, and creamy. As it contains some citrus and nutty notes, it pairs beautifully with fruity white wines, bread, a drizzle of honey, or garden-fresh greens.


Next is Granello di Capra. This is a nutty treat! Its beautiful and rustic yellow-brown rind gives way to a distinguished paste with a medley of round flavors. As it matures, Granello transforms into a firm cheese while maintaining its creamy and refined undertones. Granello di Capra boasts the following tasting notes: rich caramel, toasty bread, hazelnut, and earth. Its deep flavor makes it a great pairing with medium-bodied red wines, or as an exciting dessert accompaniment.


Finally, we have the most decadent of the three: Cravot de Barbera – also nicknamed Ubriaco (“drunk” in Italian). This is an aged goat’s milk cheese aromatized and matured with Barbera D.O.C. red wine. Skillfully aged for two months in cellars, and then two months soaked in decadent and flavorful wine resulting in a flavorful synergy that leaves a lasting impression. Ubriaco has an intense aroma, a soft and supple texture, and a sweet and fruity flavor profile. Ideal pairings would be a glass of robust, full-bodied red wine such as Barolo or Barbaresco to further elevate the flavors. Accompanying this cheese with some crusty Italian bread and a side of spiced fruit chutney can create a delightful gastronomic experience that highlights the rich complexity of Ubriaco. Allow all three to rest at room temperature before eating to unravel their rich flavors.

For Paolo and Denise, navigating the challenges that come with the life-cycles of the animals, regulations concerning raw milk, and the art of cheese making itself have only solidified their resolve. The quality of their goat milk cheeses is a true reflection of the love and respect they harbor for nature and their craft. When you try these Paje goat cheeses, you embrace a delightful journey of taste and tradition underscored by innovative and ecological practices.

Written by Ms. Duru Ozupek of the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, edited by Tess Dunlap
First Six Photos by Aarón Gómez Figueroa