Vannella Cheese was born in Conversano, Puglia. The southern Italian town is also the birthplace of our Mum, Pina Vannella. Our Dad, Vito Minoia, the head cheese-maker at Vannella, was born 15km down the road.
Conversano is also the birthplace of our burrata, a fresh, stretched curd cheese that is filled with creamy stracciatella and then hand-tied. At 16 years old, Dad (apprenticed to a cheese maker in Conversano), learnt how to hand stretch curds for this cheese the traditional way. Back then everything was done by hand: the burrata, fior de latte, treccine, nodini, scamorza.
Over the following years Dad worked in some of Italy’s best cheese factories, but he always returned to Conversano; at first it was to marry Mum, and later to open their business - Caseificio Vannella. Eventually, we, my sister and I, were also born in Conversano.
When we moved to Australia, we brought a little bit of Conversano with us - we brought the cheese. In fact, we moved our lives around this cheese, first setting up in Cairns to be close to the dairy herds and buffalo and later moving to the city, to bring the fresh cheese closer to the tables where it was being served.
We embraced Australia and Australia embraced us. At Vannella we now make a variety of fresh, stretched curd cheeses that sing the traditions of our birthplace, along with cheeses and dairy products that we have learnt from the people we have met in Australia. We approach each with the same care for quality and authenticity.
You can’t get closer to tradition than that.