Blu di Bufala is a blue buffalo milk cheese made by brothers Bruno and Alfio Gritti at Caseificio Quattro Portoni, near Bergamo in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. In a landscape dominated by traditional cheesemaking operations, Quattro Portoni is unique. Water buffalo cheesemaking is a practice more associated with southern Italy than the north, and the Gritti brothers have made a name for themselves by creating inspired originals.
The dairy farm was founded by Bruno and Alfio’s father, Renato Gritti, in 1968. After the brothers took it over in 1982, they faced an increasing struggle to make a viable living, largely due to steadily falling fluid milk prices. Although converting to cheesemaking would have added value of the milk, it would also have put them in direct competition with some of the region’s most dominant dairies. For that reason, they made the bold decision in 2000 to purchase their first 40 water buffalo from a local Lombardy farmer and, along with some help from an instructor at a local dairy school, began to develop various cheese recipes using the buffalo milk. Today, with the number of water buffalo nearing 1000 head, Quattro Portoni are producing a number of different cheeses all made from buffalo milk, including Quadrello di Bufala, Granbu, and Casatica.
Blu di Bufala is a decadent whole milk blue cheese aged at least three months. The rind is a dry and wrinkled gray color, while the paste is straw-colored and intersected with silvery ribbons of mold. Its texture is crumbly, yet creamy on the palate.