BUSINESS: Le Cornelle
ADDRESS: Via Laneto 16, Carù di Villa Minozzo (Reggio Emilia)
“ON CAMPUS” COURSE: ReStartApp 2015
We are bringing back the Cornella Bianca, an endangered sheep breed that is indigenous to the Reggio Apennines. I studied history in Genoa, but I always knew I wanted to go back to live and work where I come from. The ReStartApp course was the right occasion.
Giuliano’s hands press into the mass of milk and rennet. He pushes it into the plastic moulds with his fingertips, slowly squeezing the whey out. The remaining aggregate is pecorino cheese. The liquid that is discarded, so to speak, will be transformed into ricotta cheese.
Born in 1990, Giuliano Gabrini repeats these gestures every two days in the brand-new cheese-making workshop of the Azienda Agricola Le Cornelle, sheep farm, in Carù di Villa Minozzo (Reggio Emilia). The workshop is located in a Sixties building, next to the place where Giuliano lives with his parents and brother: “Renovation costs amounted to 150 thousand euros, 70% of which were covered by the Development Programme (RDP) – he says – In the past, part of the building was used as a hay barn, while the rest was used as a pig shed”.
The small cheese-making workshop, also comprising a maturing room and a shop, completes and defines the overall project of this business, in the Parco nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco-Emiliano(Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park). It all began from a sheep, the Cornella bianca. Giuliano and his family decided they wanted to save this indigenous breed from extinction and contribute to its survival. This led to the decision to take part in ReStartApp 2015, where Giuliano was awarded the second start-up prize offered by Fondazione Edoardo Garrone.
It has a white semi-closed fleece, with short fine locks. Height at withers can be up to 90 centimetres for rams and 80 centimetres for ewes. Both animals have horns. The lactation period lasts on average 120-150 days, with an overall production of approximately 100–130 kilograms per sheep. The Cornella Bianca is included in the list of local breeds and varieties of agrarian interest in the Emilia-Romagna territory.
The main rearing environment are the higher Emilian Apennines, across the provinces of Reggio Emilia, Modena and Bologna, but, due to the traditional transhumance system, it has also spread to the provinces of Ferrara, Rovigo and Vicenza. “Over recent decades, the breed has suffered a heavy decline in numbers, due both to the general crisis seen in the ovine sector and to crossing or replacement with other breeds considered to be more productive” reads a factsheet prepared by the Regione Emilia-Romagna (Emilia-Romagna Regional Council). .