One of our highest performing products is the famous Formaggio di Fossa di Sogliano P.D.O., a cheese that is matured in pits, according to the Controlled Origin Denomination standard of identity.

We carefully monitor the entire product supply chain in collaboration with the competent bodies, starting from milk collection and processing, through to the traditional storage in the historical pits in Sogliano, until the final packing.

 

The so called “Formaggio di Fossa” is a typical local product obtained from the fermentation, inside seasoning sandstone ground holes “the Fossae” of the classical cheese produced in the area around the valleys following the course of Rubicone and Marecchia especially between Romagna and Marche. The “Fossae” are nothing but underground holes whose origins date back to Middle Ages; digged into the tufa of the small inhabited centre of Sogliano al Rubicone, they were anciently used as barns.  The usage of “burying” cheese is a practice which goes back to many centuries ago and is nowadays a country tradition; the origins of said practice are unknown even if documents of the XVth Century give tangible evidence of the usage at those time.

The ground holes used for cheese maturing may be of different shape and size, the are generally flask-shaped with a base of about 2 M. circumference and a height of about 3M., neck included. As always the fossae are opened on August 16th – from that day on countrymen, tradesmen or simply private people have got time until the beginning of September, to take their own cheese to the maturing sandstone ground holes; the hole-owner give a recipes for this deposit which will have to be shown at collection time. The cheese must be previously closed into canvas sacks preferably white, the hole-owners will write with oil and lamp-black two umbers, the first one corresponds to the cheese owner, the second one to the weight, which, after tradition, is still expressed rigorously in librae.

Experienced workers start, early in the morning, to burn straw inside the ground hole in order both to remove wetness and moisture and also to sterilize the pit itself against micro organism and bacteria which might be noxious to the normal fermentation. In order to insulate the tufa the ground hole is then tubbed with a layer of about 10cm of straw supported by a scaffolding of vertical reeds horizontally tied up with wooden hoops. At the bottom some wooden boards are laid down. At this point the ground holes are finally ready to get the cheese temporarily stored in the warehouse nearby.

The ground holes are then closed to be opened only three months later. The miracle is done: the normal cheese buried in August has now become “Formaggio di Fossa” a cheese whose unmistakable taste is completely different from the one of the primary cheese. Because of the fermentation and degreasing, cheese may loose weight. Only now all cheese-owners, among sharp and pungent odours, can get their sacks, paying a fee for each libra of matured cheese. The cheese is thus ready to be consumed; it has an irregular shapes, has no rind, its straw-coloured paste may be hard or semi-hard according to the primary cheese.

Recent studies on the product have pointed out both the healthiness of the cheese for the absence or the totally insignificant presence of pathogenous germs and the maximum digestibility due to the action of the bacteria which operate a fission of those fats that are also responsible for the typical piquant taste and sharp odour.

We can conclude saying that our “ Formaggio di Fossa” has to be considered one of the best local dairy products