Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano DOP
Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano DOP is a sheep, or mixed cow and sheep, milk cheese made on the Appennini mountains across the border between Marche and Emilia Romagna in the Northern part of the Italian peninsula.
The peculiar name of this kind of cheese comes from the necessity of farmers to hide food from the looting of armies which passed through these lands during the centuries. They used to dig pits in the found, the fosse, and placed cheese and other goods on their bottom in cloth bags. It looks like this activity dates back to mid-1400, and the legend tells that it started when Girolamo Riaro, the lord of Forlì, looted the area to offer a grand welcome to his guests.
The pits are cylinder-shaped, three meters deep and with a diameter of two meters. A fire is lit inside them to prepare them to host the cheese, then the walls are covered in straw and the floor is wooded. The cheese is then placed in the fosse in August and dug out on November 25.
Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano DOP has an irregular shape, ivory white in color. It features an intense, long lasting and aromatic smell. The taste varies depending on the milk it was produced with; if it made from cow milk, it is more delicate and slightly acid. If it is made with sheep milk, it is aromatic, intense and slightly spicy. It is often used to season traditional pasta dishes such as cappelletti, passatelli and gnocchi; it also a condiment for carpaccios and meat dishes. It goes well along strong red wines, such as Sangiovese.