The wonderful cheese called "Toma di Lanzo", (the "Toma Piemontese" has recently obtained the prestigious and deserved PDO – Protected Designation of Origin label) was very appreciated by the Olympic Athletes and Staff during the recent Winter Olympic Games of Turin. Toma of Lanzo is deeply linked to the alpine area, and in particular to the "margari" exploiting the mountain pastures of Lanzo Valleys during the summer, to go back to the valley bottom or to the plain during the winter.
Toma of Lanzo is therefore, like all the local cheese, a traditional product whose technology is handed down from generation to generation, not very sensitive to technological innovations and having all the specific features of taste and aroma differentiating it from a common product.
Among the factors of this typicality there are history, the particular production technology, the origin, and above all the quality of the raw material, that is its complex of chemical, chemical-physical, and microbiological features. The latter derive from the cattle breed, the quality of the products with which the animals are fed, the organization of the firm, and above all from the environmental microbial ecosystems, able to evolve in a specific microflora characterizing each processing firm.
Of particular importance for the final quality is therefore the microflora present in cheese and deriving from the milk production environment, undergoing during the production process a more or less marked evolution according to the stages forming this process, like the milk cooling stage in the stable, the surfacing, or the cooking of the curd. The composition and sensory features of the product are mainly linked to this microflora, and in many cases the original quality features which also become typicality and commercial value depend on it.
The possibility to "control" this microflora is therefore a crucial factor for traditional cheese and for the Toma in particular, determining not only the quality, but also the personality of the product.
Recently, thanks to the commitment of several operators working in the field and with the collaboration and coordination of G.A.L. (Group of Local Action) Valli di Lanzo-Ceronda-Casternone as well as of Valli di Lanzo Mountain Community, a new cheese-making factory has been inaugurated in Balangero and a special maturation center for Toma of Lanzo has been opened in Lanzo.