It was not because of the Scandinavian weather that Luca and Oscar from Italy moved to Denmark a couple of years ago. The two cousins are united by their common love for the manufacture of fresh Italian cheeses and saw Denmark, well known for its enormous milk production, as the best destination to fulfil their dreams. Today, the cousins successfully produce different organic cheeses such as fresh mozzarella, burrata, ricotta and mascarpone - all handmade under their trademark La Treccia. We met up with them in their small dairy in Rødovre in the outskirts of Copenhagen, and talked about the secrets of cheese making.
"I learned that eating well should be everyone’s duty in respect to oneself, and that cooking with local ingredients
has a lot of benefits, not only as regards taste."
Tell us about your childhood in Italy and how you ended up living in Denmark?
Luca: Oscar and I grew up in Piedmont, a wonderful region in North Italy. I can’t remember a single day that we didn’t spend together. We shared everything, like brothers. When we got older, our paths, naturally, separated for a while. It was our common love of homemade food and the dream of opening up something special, that brought us back together. So we decided to move to Denmark – a country, which is the epicenter of organic produce and well known for its excellent milk production. In July 2014, we finally launched La Treccia, and we’re happy to share our passion for homemade Italian cheeses with the Danish people, who show an exceptional appreciation for high quality food.
What role did food play in your childhood?
Luca: My mother has always cooked amazing food with natural ingredients direct from my father’s garden. In our basement, there has always been a bunch of homemade salamis hanging to dry, next to some wines made from homegrown grapes. I think these early experiences have shaped my ongoing relationship to food. I learned that eating well should be everyone’s duty in respect to oneself, and that cooking with local ingredients has a lot of benefits, not only as regards taste.
What was the biggest challenge on the way to starting La Treccia?
Luca: To find the right milk. The basic rule is that milk tastes of what the cow eats. To get a good result, pure nature and grazing in the open is required, next to many other things. We invested a lot of time and money in trying out milk that ultimately didn’t satisfy us. One day, we tasted jersey milk from Naturmælk, an organic dairy located in the south of Denmark. The creaminess of the milk and the round taste made us fall in love within seconds.
Your cheeses are prepared by hand. Do you use any special techniques?
Luca: For the manufacturing of our mozzarella and burrata we use a very careful preparation called “pasta filata”, also known in English as “stretched-curd” technique. It means that the fresh curd undergoes a very special kneading treatment in hot water, so the finished cheese gets its characteristic fibrous structure.
"We don´t use any kind of preservatives to make the mozzarella last for a couple of weeks.
We respect the natural process and don’t stress
the milk to achieve a fast result."
Let’s talk about mozzarella, one of the most versatile and well-known Italian cheeses. How does mozzarella from La Treccia differ from a conventional, industrially produced one?
Luca: As mentioned before, we only use organic milk from jersey cows – a milk, best described as falling in the middle between cow and buffalo milk. Very creamy and rich in important nutrients such as proteins and calcium. We don´t use any kind of preservatives to make the mozzarella last for a couple of weeks. We respect the natural process and don’t stress the milk to achieve a fast result. Our mozzarella is a fresh, handmade product with a shelf life of a maximum of 10 days.
Imagine a dinner with friends. What should not be missing?
Luca: Some mozzarella with roasted nuts, fresh herbs and a very good extra virgin olive oil. A little advice: make sure not to eat mozzarella completely cold. Take the mozzarella out of the fridge about one and a half hours beforehand and you’ll experience its full taste.
Who are you working together with?
Luca: We’ve built up an amazing relationship with a lot of restaurants over the past three years. We work with Michelin-star restaurants and deliver to different pizzerias, street food markets and shops. We’re proud of every cooperation and feel blessed to be able to work together with so many ambitious people.
For any updates visit Luca and Oscar on Facebook .
And for more FOOD stories from Denmark, see our other stories from the country .
Photos: THE FRANK STORY