Earthquake in Emilia Romagna shakes 30,000 wheels of Parmesan

Tremors and damages in the area around Ferrara.

by Marcelo Pinto Sunday, May 20th, 2012

In the early hours of the Morning of 20th May 2012 an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck the area around Ferrara. Many people felt the bang in the middle of the night and they were awaken by the shaking. There have been instanced of severely damaged building in the area and 4 people seems to have died due to the shaking.  Ferrara is a town in the region of Emilia Romagna about 70 km from Modena and 50 km from Bologna. Despite the epicenter being between Modena and Bologna and the damage here in Modena and Bologna was minimal only a major scare for everyone. The train line was suspended for several hours however the authorities managed to restarted the service.

The strangest thing that happened here it is that about 30 thousand wheels of parmesan cheese were knocked down from their ageing shelves causing considerable damage to the producers.

Bologna

It was very scary a resident reports, but there are no damages to the buildings.

Modena

In Modena city centre there have been no damages however in the town of Finale Emilia a bell tower was damaged, 35 hospital patients have been evacuated.

Reggio Emilia.

People in Reggio Emilia felt the vigorous shaking but no damages to the infrastructure were reported.

Parma.

Just the shaking were felt without any damage.

Emilia Delizia notice to our clients.

Emilia Delizia would like to reassure that despite the scary moments Bologna, Modena and Parma areas are perfectly safe. Our gourmet tours will be running as normal and planned for the coming days. Therefore do not cancel your foodie holidays as all services have restarted as normal in just hours after the quake.

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News about the earthquake from the BBC – Video transcript.

When a magnitude six earthquake struck northern Italy, 10% of the world’s supply of Parmigiano came crashing the ground. Cheese makers are not just facing ruined Parmesan, but potentially financial ruin. One of these rounds sells for $800. When the shelves holding the Parmesan fell, the oldest rounds fell last.

It’s these cheeses, the ones that have been maturing for up to two years that the owners are now desperately trying to sell.

“We’re trying to push the cheese into the market immediately so the Parmigiano is eaten and we avoid dumping it.”

In the city of Modena, the farmers are selling the Parmesan at a 40% discount.

They don’t appear to be having any trouble attracting buyers.

“I chose to come here in solidarity with my people and also because the price is lower.”

If you want to get a sense of what’s financially at stake for these farmers you need to look no further than the local bank. In the vault, thousands of rounds of Parmesan are held as collateral for the loans given to cheese makers.

Recently, farmers here have been struggling to survive with a hundred going out of business in the last five years. Of course, it’s not just about the money, but tradition. They’ve been making Parmesan and in the Emilia-Romagna region for 9 centuries. Zoe Conway, BBC News.