Italian cheeses lands in the fjords

Our Parmigiano Reggiano in Sweden

 If, after visiting a renowned chain furniture store, you get the idea that the Swedes eat only salmon and meatballs, you are so off track: in the country of fjords, woods and midnight light, they eat Parmigiano Reggiano too.
In fact, they eat our own Parmigiano Reggiano, thanks to a young Italo-Swedish entrepreneur who has transformed his passion for good food into a job.

From Salso to Sweden driven by work need and love of adventure
Roberto Gatti has a very Italian name, but a foreign accent; this because he was born in Sweden to a dad from Salsomaggiore and a mum from Lunigiana. His parents met in the Scandinavian country, where they had come to look for a job and to broad their horizons. The Italians have been in Sweden since the 50’s or 60’s: they came a little at a time, not in bulk like happened somewhere else, but they certainly left their mark… in wine and food!

Bild 5Love of Italian food, with an eye on quality

The Swedes have known and appreciated Italian food for years. In fact, you will find it everywhere, in supermarkets and restaurants, even if just a few are run by Italians. Because of this success, you may notice the so-called “Italian sounding”, which consists in products trying to take advantage of Italy’s name and image, though they aren’t Italian at all. Nonetheless the Swedes, and the young above all, are really curious and open-minded (more than us, that’s for sure) towards other food. Anyway, they also are very aware of what they eat. Thus, offering them quality food may be an opportunity.

A group of friends have an idea. And from that idea, a business is born!
It is said that, when you live a recession, work has to be invented.
Well, Roberto Gatti did just that. “One day” he tells us “some Italian friends of mine came and see me, bringing a lot of good things for me to taste; then I got the idea of importing craftmade food and of making the Swedes acquainted with it. Since I was a child, I have dreamt to be an entrepreneur and to be self-employed. So, what at the beginning was hardly a hobby, today is my job”.

The Swedes and (spreadable) chees
Among the first products Roberto tasted and imported into Sweden, there was Parmigiano elixir from Baptistry Dairy. “It had immediately intrigued me, and I thought it might be appreciated. And so it was”.
The Swedes love cheese, both Italian and French cheese. They have a great amount of milk and make mostly fresh cheeses, that later they will spread on bread during their rich and varied breakfast.
“The eating habits here are different from Italy” Roberto says "but I can’t say they are worse: some typical products and food are really good, while others… let’s just say, not so much!”.

osso-buco-elisirGetting to know (and enjoy) quality
Right from the start, Roberto decided to choose local, craftmade products, so to make known what differences are there in the varied regional Italian cooking.
The products he chose are still labelled by the enterprise that made them. “It’s because I want people to know where they come from”.
Therefore, he doesn’t just sell them to private customers, shops and restaurants, but he describes them on is website, giving advice about their use and suggesting the perfect match for them too.
Moreover, he works with some food bloggers that use his products in their recipes, and he organizes meeting and tastings: “People need to be taught the differences, to get acquainted with quality and to taste it as well” Roberto declares.
This principle is not good just for the Swedes: “When I notice that in some Italian recipe book Parmigiano is listed among the ingredients, I wonder: which one? The fresh and sweet one? Or the matured/ seasoned one? Because the flavour is different. Maybe who lives in the production areas is aware of that, but goodness knows what happens in the rest of Italy…”

Why us?
Why, of all cheeses, Roberto selected the Baptistry Dairy ones?
Because I tasted and appreciated them myself. Whenever I come back to the dairy, I’m delighted to taste their fresh products too, those I can’t import into Sweden.
Mostly, I like drinking their milk, as it can really tell why the cheeses are so good”.
Besides Parmigiano elixir, nowadays Roberto sells in Sweden Parmigiano Reggiano and some seasoned cheeses too. You may enjoy them just the way they are, while cooking, or you may use them as a tasty gift.


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