- Bitto is undoubtedly one of the symbols of Lombardy cheesemaking. It is backed by a grand tradition and extraordinary ageing qualities, and is profoundly linked to the mountains in which it originates. The historic production core can be found in the valleys formed by the stream that gives it its name: Gerola and Albaredo, in the province of Sondrio. This cheese from the pastures of these valleys, produced at an altitude ranging between 1400 and 2000 metres, maintains special characteristics that are ensured by the preservation of traditional methods that exalt the cheese's quality.
- The various production phases are carried out according to traditional customs that are closely linked to environmental characteristics, in the period between the first of June and 30 September. Fresh cow's milk is added to goat's milk (10-20%) from a Bergamo Alpine breed, and then is poured into the traditional copper cauldrons shaped like upside down bells. There it is heated over a wood fire to a temperature of 35 - 37° C. Calf's rennet is then added. The curd is finely broken up and within 2 hours brought to a final temperature of 50-52°C. Once removed, the cheese is placed in wooden moulds which give its characteristic concave side surface. Bitto Valley cheesemakers use wood as they consider it indispensable for porosity and breathability, which allow the cheese to dry and breathe during the forming and dry-salting stages. The traditional wooden utensils are also fundamental for maintaining the typical qualities of each mountain pasture, due partly to the microflora that forms there, creating a barrier against the development of other anti-cheese microbes. Ageing begins in the "Alpine dairies" and is completed in the facilities at the bottom of the valley, exploiting the natural climatic trend of the production area.
- Ageing must last for at least sixty days. After at least a year of ageing, the product can be used grated as a condiment. Ageing can also last for years, without changing the cheese's organoleptic and structural characteristics.
- It is a fat semi-cooked alpine cheese of medium hardness and ageing. When mature, it has a regular, cylindrical shape with a diameter of 40 -50 cm, height 9 - 12 cm and weight which varies from 9 to 20 kg. This compact cheese's colour varies from white to straw-yellow according to ageing, with rare bird's eye holes. As soon as it is ready, the flavour is mild, delicate and tends to become more intense and sharp with ageing. In its younger stages, it is an excellent classic slicing cheese. After a year of ageing, its nobility increases, rising to become an excellent complement to the finest foods at the most refined tables.