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FAQ

How Does Stefano Select His Produce?

We are passionate about sourcing ingredients that are a reflection of careful farming. We look for family run, artisanal producers, who often don’t export outside Italy, these are the real hidden gems, known only to locals, which we strive to give you access to.

What Influences The Flavour Of Cheese And Salumi?

Many factors can influence our different meat and cheese products. The animals vary from roaming on the Sardinian coastline to grazing at the top of the Alps Mountain range. Natural salts and herbs in their diet from their location, as well as their breed and age can influence the flavour of the milk and meat.

Pasteurised And Raw, What’s The Difference?

Pasteurisation only started to become widely practiced in the early 1800s, seeing as cheese has been around for thousands of years, it is safe to say that all of Italy’s most famous cheeses were once raw milk cheeses.

Raw milk has not been treated by heat or pasteurised. It has all its natural bacteriological and enzymatic characteristics. Raw milk is not the same thing as unpasteurised milk – while all raw milk is unpasteurised, not all unpasteurised milk is raw. Pasteurised milk has been heated to a particular temperature, for a specific time, in order to kill off certain bacteria. While pasteurisation ensures the destruction of many of the pathogens that may or may not be present, it also strips the milk of beneficial and innocuous natural flora.

Why Does The Milk Matter?

When cheese is made by small producers they have the freedom to experiment with their milk in the pastures, during the early production stage meaning the milk can reach optimum flavour.

What Is Rennet?

Rennet is a combination of enzymes extracted from the stomachs of young calves, kids, or lambs is used to make most cheeses. It transforms liquid milk into solid curd, which is the first step in cheese making. Vegetarian substitutes have been developed as an alternative to animal rennet. Some cheese (our ricotta) is coagulated by the combination of heat and acidity from the action of the lactic acid bacteria in the milk, sometimes boosted by the addition of vinegar or citric acid./p>

Is Blue Cheese Safe?

Blue cheese, like our Gorgonzola, has mould spores inside the body of the cheese. They enhance strength, flavour, character and appearance. Blue cheese mould can also be caused unintentionally by air penetrating through the rind, allowing natural mould growth. It is safe to eat mould on blue cheese in both these scenarios.

I’m Pregnant, Is Vallebona Cheese Safe?

Vallebona does not offer medical advice on cheese and pregnancy: we can, however, share with our customers what we know about cheese.

Women can still eat cheese during pregnancy, but should avoid soft and blue cheeses, which may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium causing Listeriosis. The presence of Listeria indicates contamination. We cannot, however, offer medical advice on cheese and pregnancy.

There is some controversy over Parmesan that is younger than 2 years. All our Parmesan is aged for at least 36 months, if you have any more questions about cheese and pregnancy please consult your doctor.

Can I Eat The Rind?

If the rind is edible, we say go for it, and we indicate this on the label that comes with your cheese. However, flavours will vary from earthy and bitter to strong and sour depending on your cheese, the age and the storage.

Does Vallebona Mature Products?

Yes we do. We have a huge, walk in maturation room where we store and age our cheese, hams and salumi. During the development process there are many factors the producer will control before the products arrive at Vallebona; temperature, humidity, washing and brushing. We consider ourselves experts in the nuances of the specific conditions needed by each after it arrives with us, ensuring that you only buy it at the peak of its flavour.

Should I Pick Aged Cheese?

Older does not always mean better. Cheesemakers typically follow a method with a particular age profile in mind. For example, a Gorgonzola Dolce is typically intended to be eaten at eight weeks, whilst our Parmesan is typically eaten at 36 months. Excessive age can result in a decrease in quality, it can become bitter, waxy and salty. We sell our cheese at their optimum, ready-to-eat stage.

How Should I Store My Vallebona Order At Home?

Artisan ingredients vary, as each wheel or salumi is handmade.

We send our products wrapped in waxed paper, which achieves the best possible balance between maintaining humidity and allowing it to breathe. Avoid cling film or foil, which will cause sweating. Store in a refrigerator, in a box (to avoid drying out) and in wax paper. We don’t advise freezing as it affects the flavour. If you freeze your cheese or meat, perhaps use it for cooking.

When Should I Take It Out Of The Fridge?

We generally say 2 hours prior to serving, but this depends on the temperature of your surroundings. Keep the cheese and sliced meat wrapped as long as possible, so it doesn’t dry out. Do not serve it too cold or it will taste bland.

How Long Will My Fresh Items Last?

With artisanal items, there is no definitive answer. The size, age and storage will all affect the products longevity. We label cheese and meat in our shops with best before date and an expectation they will be eaten within a week or so. Larger chunks will last longer.

How Far In Advance Should I Order?

You can order online as early as you wish and choose your desired delivery date. We typically cut and slice to order on the day of dispatch to ensure that it is as fresh as possible when it arrives with you. Typically we accept orders for next day delivery up to 1pm. (Peak times and large orders may intervene)

If you are ordering for delivery for a special occasion, be sure to select a preferred delivery date a day or two in advance of your event in case of courier delays. For example, if your event is over the weekend, it is best to choose Wednesday / Thursday as the preferred delivery day.

When Will My Order Arrive?

You can let us know your preferred delivery day at the checkout stage in the comment section. You can choose between Express delivery (your cheese could arrive any time 8am and 5pm the next day), collection in store, or collection from a convenient UPS access point from the next day onwards. If you provide us with a mobile phone number you will get a text notification on the delivery day, giving you a one-hour window for when the cheese ought to arrive.

As we use third party couriers (typically DPD) we unfortunately cannot guarantee the arrival day of your order. Depending on the distance from London, we dispatch orders one to two days prior to your preferred delivery day. We assure you that we will do our best to ensure that it arrives as close to your preferred delivery day as possible.

Is There A Delivery Charge?

Depending on the size of your order. We offer free delivery on orders over £20, to a UPS access point, or to home addressed over £50. See our delivery page for more details.

Does Vallebona Deliver Internationally?

Yes, we have developed a system to ensure that your products get to you in a timely way that ensures their freshness for International deliver. See our delivery page for more details.

How Does My Delivery Arrive?

Our online private orders will arrive in a recyclable cardboard box. Within this will be ice packs to ensure your products arrive chilled, air cushions for protection and filler where needed. We try to be as sustainable as possible. We do like orders little and often, but please bear in mind the environment and combine your order where possible.

How Do I Amend An Order?

If you need to amend your order, please call us on 02089445665 or email us at info@vallebona.co.uk. We are happy to help. Please note we dispatch 24 hours prior to your expected delivery.

What’s The Cut Off For Next Day Delivery Or Collection?

The cut off for next day delivery or collection is typically 1pm the previous day. Due to the volumes of orders we have at Christmas time, we tend to extend this to 48 hours prior during this busy period.

Do I Need To Be At Home For The Delivery?

No. The courier will send you a notification via email and text once your parcel has gone on the van for delivery. This will also contain a number of options which you can use if you find out you are not due to be in to receive the delivery, you can also track your parcel. Alternatively, select a convenient UPS access point.

If you don’t have the DPD app, visit dpd.co.uk and enter your parcel number in the tracking area or click on the link you received via email or text. You will see a notification letting you know the one-hour time slot in which your cheese should arrive. Not going to be in? Enter your postcode to see the available options.

My Order Is Missing?

Once you have checked your tracking information, please give us a call on 0208 944 5665 and we will do our best to get the parcel to you as soon as possible.

I Love My Vallebona Order!

Tell us and tell your friends. If you are completely satisfied with your order we’d love to hear. We have many ways in which you can write a review, either on the product page of the website, on TripAdvisor or via social media.

Anything Else?

If we have not answered your question above, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you, call 0208 944 5665 or email info@vallebona.co.uk