It all starts with a HUGE copper vat (291 gallons!) of fresh milk. Then they add a little stomach acid (from baby cows) and let it curdle. Break up the curdle and let it sit a bit then gather it up with a muslin cloth and put it in a mold. Each huge vat will make two wheels of cheese.
Next they sit around on some shelves for about a year. And when they are ready you will be able to tell how good of quality they are by the sound it makes when you hit it with a little hammer like Jonah got to do. The good quality wheels are worth about $600.
Next, balsamic. And we are not talking about balsamic vinegar here. I’m talking REAL balsamic. Did you know there was a difference? Me neither. Balsamic is made by boiling and then fermenting and condensing grapes until there is just a syrupy substance left. It takes at least 12 years. It sits around in these wooden barrels and they rotate it to a smaller and smaller barrel each year. Sometimes the different kinds of wood of the barrels can give it a unique flavor. Because it condenses and condenses smaller and smaller and it takes so long to make it is really expensive. We’re talking 100 dollars for a very small jar. But it is seriously delicious. We got to try TINY spoons of different ages, and the older it is the sweeter it is. You could seriously eat it on ice cream, and they do. (If you can afford that kind of thing anyways!) This area is the only place in the world that makes real balsamic. They have some in their “personal collection” that is SUPER old.