Traditional Cheesemakers Walk Two Hours And Dig Hard To Turn Cheese In Cellar Buried Under Snow
This footage shows a traditional blue cheese maker digging hard to rescue six months worth of product maturing in a cellar that needed to be turned – but which was impossible to reach as it was buried under snow.
Carlos Lopez and his wife Sara Fernandez run the Queseria Main, a cheese factory in the autonomous community of Asturias in north-western Spain that makes Cabrales cheese, which is a blue cheese made in the artisan tradition by rural dairy farmers.
The traditionally made cheese matures in special cellars in the mountainous area and every few days, the cheese needs to be turned, which means that someone has to go up there and manually do it, but the weather can get in the way of that, as can be seen in this footage, where the snow completely covered the 15-metre-high cellar wall.
The family-run cheese factory shared the footage online and captioned it: “Today, after half a day of truce, Carlos and Sara took the skis and went up to the Main cellars, we have to clean all the cheese as another storm is coming and we cannot abandon them… But it was not easy at all reaching them. The Main Reserve is unique.”
The Queseria Main cheese factory, which is run by Carlos and Sara, told Newsflash in an exclusive interview that they regularly clean and monitor the cheese. They said: “We don’t go every day, but we do go to all the cellars once a week, we have four in use right now.”
They explained that the snow was not harmful for the cheese itself, but it can make access to it difficult and can even make it harder to find the location of one of the cheese maturing cellars. They said: “There are times when you dig and can’t find the door but you try again until it appears.”
They said the snow “is not harmful directly, what is harmful is not cleaning and turning the cheeses every week. The only thing that the snow would do would be to slow down its maturation, but it is not a negative thing.”
The Queseria Main cheese factory produces 12 tonnes of Cabrales cheese a year. Carlos and Sara, along with Javi and Jessica, make the cheese, with the cellar in the video containing 400 cheeses “that will remain there until July”, they said.
They said that each cheese wheel seen in the footage “will last from 10 to 12 months and is worth EUR 39 per kilogramme” (GBP 33).