Slow Food is a large international non profit association which was born in Arcigola and founded in Piedmont in 1986 by Carlo Petrini.
The association’s mission is that of restoring the correct value to food, by respecting the producers, the environment and the ecosystem through traditions and local lore. In the year 2000 the project Slow Food Presidia was born, with the aim of preserving or
reviving small artisanal productions that are at risk of extinction.
The Save Heritage Bitto Consortium (Consorzio Salvaguardia Bitto Storico), which was then called Associazione produttori Valli del Bitto, obtained Slow Food Presidia recognition in October 2003. The Bitto Centre in Gerola Alta is the only authorised entity
that can guarantee the selection and the quality of the cheeses made according to the rules of the Storico Slow Food Presidia.
This Presidia was born in order to value the alpine cheese production, which happens in a historical area with the use of a percentage of goat’s milk and without industrial chemicals or feeds. There are 12 cheesemakers in the Save Heritage Bitto Consortium.
Their work methods have a positive impact on the quality of the cheese and on the environment, but they also require greater use of resources. It is necessary for the market to recognize these efforts and give the producers rightful compensation for their fundamental job of conserving the area in which they are working. Once abandoned, the mountain environment of the alpine pastures quickly deteriorates and, within a few years, becomes impossible to recover.