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His earliest memories at the Di Nucci Dairy date back to when he was six years old and enjoyed playing tricks on cheese-makers while they were creating cheeses. Until one day, he fell into the brine. But in truth, Francesco, now 28, always liked the world of cheese-making, so much so that he decided to study food science and technology at the university, first in Molise, then in Parma, where he specialized.
As soon as he graduated, he immersed himself in the scents of dairy production, initially led by his father, Franco Di Nucci, from whom he learned the management of “stringy” pasta cheeses, fermentations, and other technical skills. Now, Francesco is the production and quality manager: “I am in charge of sampling, reading the analyses, implementing upgrades with a view to constant improvement. It is a quality wheel: an empirical job involving microbiology and cheese chemistry.”
Acting is Francesco’s second passion, which he interprets as being one with life: “On stage one experiences the ‘here and now’, a concept that should be extended to life itself and also to the dairy.” Among all the cheeses, Stracciata and Caciocavallo remind him of the arguments among children over who would get the head of the cheese. But he finds Scamorza with Altino’s Sweet Dried Pepper excellent.
“Here there is always something new to learn. I like working with people who saw me grow up. I used to play ball with Lucia in the back shop, and now I work with her and the other employees as a team. This makes me feel safe. I feel at home.”
Eclectic and multitasking, Serena Di Nucci experiences the company as a gymnasium of human and professional relationships, constantly facing new and challenging exercises. She studied business management at the University of Molise. She then specialized by attending the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (CN).
Designing wedding dresses is one of her many passions. But the vocation for the Di Nucci Dairy, where she was born and grew up, was stronger, and to the white of the dress, she preferred the white of milk. “It was a free and natural choice. This is my world.” Her work is varied: she is in charge of the relationships with retailers in Italy and northern Europe, managing the online shop that was her creation, and handling the marketing efforts from communication to promotion, exhibitions, visuals, and social networks, all tailored according to the company needs, carrying on the values of tradition with tools that are always modern and innovative.
“Every day for me is a great exercise of character: having to manage is not to order but to be the ‘lubricant’ of the gears of the company and its people.” Thirty-three years old and very creative, Serena is always ready to face any corporate issue and need. Her greatest satisfaction? Seeing customers considering her family and employees as part of their own family.
Manteca, which she defines as “luxuriously rich,” is one of her favorite cheeses: for her, it is the cuddle, the caress, a symbol of a personality that on the exterior may seem more leathery and temperate, but inside has a soft heart of butter.
She grew up in the Agnone store of the Di Nucci Dairy with Serena and Francesco, her siblings until she moved to Rome to study art history at an international university and then traveled between Rome and Naples for specialization in sacred art. After several work experiences at a library and an art academy, Antonia Di Nucci decided to head back home. “I thought that an education in art history was completely distant from the world of cheese; instead, this passion turned out to be important and useful since it is related to cheese production, which after all is an art in itself.”
One summer, Antonia, now 30, started leading the tours of the dairy and the Museum of Dairy Art and Transhumance to foreign guests, being very fluent in English. The early experiences turned into her favorite job: meeting people, telling the story of family and cheese, and listening. Today all the museum management and event planning activities are under her responsibility.
“I have experienced moving moments over the years: foreign visitors of Italian origin are always emotionally touched when they rediscover the land of their ancestors. Feeling this strong connection with the land is unique.” Antonia feels privileged to be part of the company and her large family. However, watch it when she sits at the table in front of an extra-aged Agnone Caciocavallo. In addition to reminding her of her university days when she would eat a whole one, she admits that cheese makes her lose control.
He likes to nickname himself “Agnonese of Capracotta” because of his childhood in the town where he was born and the summers he spent at his grandfather Giovanni’s dairy on the Molise Apennines. Grandfather wanted Franco Di Nucci to become an army officer, but he loved his job so much that he became the first farmer to open his own family-run business. Grandfather often took Franco into a world of ancient knowledge, which included toys designed with spun cheese dough and stories of transhumance.
After studying literature and philosophy at the University of Naples, Franco met Rosetta. He returned to Agnone to create a family with her. In 1980, he took on the business intending to turn the Di Nucci dairy into a company. Over the years, he expanded the company, opened the factory in the artisan area, hired employees, modernized the business, won international awards, and strengthened the local milk supply chain, while remaining rooted in the tradition and artisan processing methods.
With Franco, the Di Nucci Dairy became a culture and an extended family carrying on an important story that boosted the name of the Alto Molise region. “I continue to feel the presence of my grandfather Giovanni next to me, guiding me. And my greatest reward is to see how this family history continues and grows thanks to my three children.”
Franco loves Stracciata, for its excellence, originality, and unique Alto Molise characteristics. However, for him, all his cheeses are works of art because they are heirs of ancient history, an identity card for the land.
Rosetta is the “mother” of the Di Nucci Dairy. She worked at a hospital for 20 years as a nurse in the operating room. After marrying Franco Di Nucci and giving birth to their three children, Serena, Antonia, and Francesco, she joined the family business changing career radically.
The Di Nucci Dairy needed someone to handle the administration. Rosetta accepted the challenge, applying the methods she had learned over the years as a nurse at the Red Cross and in Chieti. With accuracy and excellent organizational skills, Rosetta created an office right from the start, becoming a point of reference for the company. “I reinvented myself, taking on different responsibilities, which also gave me great rewards. At first, I did not know the difference between a transport document and an invoice. But I learned a lot, and I could soon handle considerable amounts of documents.” When she left her work at the hospital, she wanted to dedicate herself to her children and simultaneously provide support in managing the company. Today she is teaching her children to share their responsibilities, and then she will be ready to hand over her role to them. Her saying is: “do everything with love”. And she undoubtedly does it and does it well.
Extra-aged Caciocavallo is her favorite cheese. She loves it plain, paired with a loaf of excellent local bread. “Because it is a unique concentration of aromas and flavors.”
She made herself available to new job opportunities with the curiosity to learn and enjoy new experiences. Romina is 51 years old, comes from Sessano del Molise and was the owner of a gift store frequented by the Di Nucci family for a long time. She has been a shop clerk at the Isernia store on Via Garibaldi No. 22, the town’s main street, for more than a year and is firmly convinced of having made the right choice.
“New things stimulate my curiosity. And at Caseificio Di Nucci I found a dynamic company that combines tradition and innovation. A company that is projected into the future while looking at the past. It is a company made of real people, like family members. And the products are as they are described, there is the utmost transparency with customers and workers, there is nothing to hide, which is of great value to me.”
Her favorite cheese is Manteca: she eats the butter spread on bread, but the outer casing is her favorite. Manteca reminds her of grandmother’s home, when as a little girl she used to open the pantry, because the refrigerator was not in the homes yet, and she grabbed a few pieces of Manteca. “That flavor of butter that tastes like milk is unbeatable.”
As a young girl, Olga was a clerk at a small supermarket in Corso Garibaldi, Isernia. After a period when she dedicated herself to her family, she joined the Isernia store of the Di Nucci Dairy, which by the irony of fate, is located on the same street where she used to work, which is the town’s main avenue.
At 59, Olga has welcomed clients and gourmets to Isernia for 14 years, and she would never change her job. “When I am at the store, I feel well; I feel at home. Being in contact with people is enriching as you can share ideas, and I like the freedom the job gives.” Olga reveals that even on the coldest days of winter when one would not want to leave the house because of the bad weather, reaching the store is a joy for her. She has created a good relationship with the customers to whom she gives tips and offers tastings. “It is a rewarding environment, especially now that the store has been renovated. In addition to the cheeses, there is a wide selection of artisan products that are typical of the local area and that I recommend as pairing to the cheeses.”
Olga’s greatest gastronomic love is for the soft, freshly made Scamorza, which she especially loves with homemade bread. “Several people cannot resist soft Scamorza cannot: they buy it and eat it right in the store.”
Hailing from Lucca, Angela moved to Molise with her husband and for 21 years has been working in the Agnone store of the Di Nucci Dairy, in Via Roma No. 12, on the town’s main street.
When she was a girl, she helped her family in a fruit grocery store. She always enjoyed interacting with people, talking to them, and making new friends. “I feel rewarded by my work and the enthusiasm of our customers. It is nice to talk to them and exchange ideas.”
Angela likes telling the story of the cheeses, letting people know how they are made, often in great detail since she has also gained experience in the production department. “For example, if Stracciata turns out slightly saltier, it is because it was left in the brine for a few seconds more. I like to give specific answers.”
Semi-aged Caciocavallo is her favorite cheese, especially cut into chunks in a tomato salad. She loves the one with holes: “I’m crazy about it.”
Some people have certainly seen him on board the Di Nucci Dairy truck, driving around Molise and Abruzzo, ready to deliver cheeses to stores and retailers.
Gino has always been involved in the food sector. Until two years ago, he was a greengrocer and went around towns and cities selling fruit and veggies. Then he closed down his business and entered the dairy world. He has always enjoyed interacting with people. “I like to recommend and offer good products. With the customers, there is a very informal relationship; there is cooperation and trust. And there is beautiful feedback.”
Caciosalame is his favorite cheese, which Gino likes to enjoy with bread. He is fascinated not only by the flavor but also by its unique history, which he discovered from ancient letters preserved in the Museum of Dairy Art and Transhumance, which reveal how the idea of enclosing soppressata salami in Caciocavallo paste was born by Di Nucci emigrants after World War II to overcome strict customs checks in America.
The alarm clock rings before dawn for Antonio. He leaves the Di Nucci Dairy factory at 5 a.m. with the characteristic milk collection van to head into the Alto Molise countryside. He travels to 15 farms in Agnone and the Alto Molise area to collect fresh milk from the farms and take it back to the dairy, where it will be processed to make cheese.
Antonio has been our milk collector for three years, but he has always been a driver for a long time for a construction company. He says he is used to working a lot, but today, at 60, he feels satisfied. He lives in Marzovecchio, where his wife runs a cattle farm, the first one from which Antonio collects milk. “I like to manage the work, and I like the aged Agnone Caciocavallo: I eat it often. Whenever I have a chance, I enjoy a piece.”
Pina reinvented her life with this second job, which continues to be stimulating to her day after day. For several years, she had worked in a jeans-making factory. When it closed, she joined the Di Nucci Dairy, and with dedication and the support of her colleagues, she learned to make cheese with great care.
About ten years have passed since that first day, and Pina has never lost her desire to get involved. “I really enjoy working and doing different things. In the morning, I make Scamorze, Stracciate, and cut the dough. Sometimes I help at the Agnone store. Or, when visitors come to the dairy, I help get the Museum of Dairy Art and Transhumance ready and prepare the cheeses for tasting sessions.”
Pina loves charming people with new flavors, recommending the types of cheeses they do not know, or giving suggestions on how to best enjoy them. She prefers fresh cheeses such as Stracciata and Scamorza, but she also loves Ricotta, with which she enjoys making desserts or pasta dishes.
This is the 20th year that Roberto is with the Di Nucci Dairy, so he likes to refer to himself as a veteran. Many of you have likely met him and certainly have seen him driving every day the Molise’s roads with his white van delivering the Di Nucci cheeses to the Isernia store and to the various stores in the area that work with our diary, as well as to the restaurants in Molise and Abruzzo.
Roberto receives the orders and gets the packages with the fresh cheese ready for delivery every morning so they may reach the tables of gourmets and enthusiasts. The first stop is always at the store in Corso Garibaldi No. 22, in Isernia. Roberto is there with his van at 11:30 a.m. where he always finds our customers waiting for freshly made stracciate, ricotta and scamorze.
“Some people await at their windows to see when I arrive. And when I am early, I surprise them. When I am a few minutes late, I find a queue in front of the store. It is gratifying,” Roberto says. “The customers I meet recognize our products and it is nice to receive compliments.”
His favorite cheese is Stracciata: “The more I eat it, the more I want to eat it. It is perfect on its own. I break it up with my hands and enjoy its taste in my mouth.” How can anyone blame him?
She joined the Di Nucci Dairy by chance with the desire to learn a new trade. Making cheese at first was a challenge because it was like stepping into “a new world” and she had to learn a job different from the one she had before. She immediately applied her manual skills – which she had since a young age – to the art of cheese making. After 15 years, she still is amazed and gets excited in front of the transformation of milk into cheese.
At 44 years old, Mirella, originally from Trivento has been shaping high Molise milk for 15 years, but she did not lose the curiosity and diligence of her early days. “I love processing milk and seeing how it turns into the end product. Every day, I learn something more, and I like to see clients satisfied with what I created with my hands and my passion. Some people ironically tell me: it seems like you own the company!”
Mirella feels like she is part of the Di Nucci family in her daily work and her relationship with colleagues and owners. “There is an excellent relationship. We are a tight-knit team, even in difficult times.” Her favorite cheese? Mirella cannot choose: she likes them all.
She was just 20 years old when she began to immerse herself in the pleasant scent of milk in the dairy workshop. But the world of cheese fascinated her since she was a child when intrigued, she watched her grandfather shape Caciocavallo cheese. An ancient trade that her grandfather did not want to reveal to her, imagining for her a life elsewhere.
However, the call of her roots was stronger. Ersilia, who joined Caseificio Di Nucci “almost by chance” now, after more than 21 years since that first day, “would never change job.” “My grandfather didn’t think it was a job for women. Then, one day, I brought him here at the workshop: he was moved,” she says.
After learning the art from the master cheese-makers, Ersilia became skilled in giving life and shape to cheeses. And today, she is also the one who prepares the packages full of delicacies that travel across Italy ordered from our online store. “I feel proud to be part of this historic company. I grew up in it,” she says. I like to see people’s satisfaction and to be part of a group that works well. Our product is different every day.”
Ersilia’s favorite cheese is Stracciata: “the soft one that stretches all over the plate. It sends me to cloud nine when paired with French fries and mayonnaise.” An original and tenacious pairing, just like her.
He is a true enthusiast of Agnone Caciocavallo, which is also one of his favorite cheeses. He certainly does not dislike enjoying a few savory bites now and then. Carlo knows how to handle the spun dough to create all kinds of traditional cheeses at Caseificio Di Nucci.
Always with “his hands in the dough” Carlo has been working in our production workshop for 21 years, after being involved in various catering and gastronomy activities. After returning to Agnone, his hometown, he joined Caseificio Di Nucci as an apprentice. He developed an exceptional talent for this job, which today, at 59, is one of his main satisfactions. “I feel accomplished because I have a trade that I know how to do well. I create something that people like, and I think this is a nice reward,” Carlo says while carefully watching over Caciocavallo in the aging cellars.
Everything that revolves around our Agnone Caciocavallo is his realm. From the production with dough spinning to the drying process, the first aging stage, and then the meticulous attention in choosing the wheels to be brought to the stone cellar, where the Caciocavallo will refine its fragrance for up to 24 months.
In addition to Caciocavallo, which Carlo prefers in the semi-aged version, his dairy love is Stracciata, which he likes to pair with salad and tomatoes.
She has worked at the Di Nucci Dairy for 20 years, half her life. As time passed – just as it happens with good cheese aging – she refined her expertise and passion.
She joined the dairy with the wish to change jobs, encouraged by her aunt, who supplied our dairy with milk from her farm. “Franco Di Nucci put me immediately to work. I started to explore this world and became passionate about it. Seeing every day the transformation of milk into cheese is what I love the most.”
Stefania is very proud to be part of the Di Nucci family: “I feel that I can stand out. This is not just an ordinary dairy. It made Agnone famous, and our cheeses are famous across Italy.”
Ricotta is Stefania’s favorite dairy product, and she admits that she has a sweet tooth, so she often uses it as a dessert, paired with cooked must, honey, or cocoa. How can anyone blame her?
She is a veteran at Caseificio Di Nucci. For 33 years, her hands have processed the milk that gives life to our artisan cheeses.
When she started working here, she was not sure she liked the job. Now, she would not change it for anything in the world. Day after day, she learned the art of cheese making, first with Antonio and then with Franco Di Nucci. And by gaining experience, “the spark lit up, and the passion was born”. The passion that still holds in her heart.
Lucia is a family woman. She joined the dairy when Rosetta was pregnant with Serena and saw the three young Di Nucci kids grow up: Serena, Antonia, and last Francesco, who played tricks on her and involved her in his games and who now works with her among the fragrance of milk soon to be turned into cheese.
Aged Agnone Caciocavallo cheese is her favorite. It reminds her of countryside life. But it is not the only cheese she makes. Lucia can switch with skills and ease from one preparation to another, relying on teamwork, which she enjoys a lot in her daily activity.
Our online shop and store clerk, Marcella is among the newer arrivals at the Di Nucci Dairy, but thanks her enthusiasm and commitment, she seems like a veteran. She is 24 years old and graduated from the Agnone Hospitality and Tourism Institute. After gaining experience in a fruit grocery store, she was hired at the Di Nucci Dairy, where she works serving customers both at the Agnone store in Via Roma and in the packaging department of the e-commerce department from which the cheeses that reach destinations all over Italy leave.
“I learn many new things and am happy to work in a stimulating environment. If I have a bad day, my smile returns when I am here.” Marcella likes to explain what the flavors based on aging are and how Stracciata, when tasted, can make one feel wonder. When Christmas or another holiday comes, that is her favorite time. She has fun creating unique baskets and packages with creativity.
Soft Stracciata is her most loved cheese. But Marcella has a secret: she loves Caciocavallo Pasta Scamorza with truffles, and Pina, her colleague, leaves one aside for her as soon as it is made. Don’t tell anyone.