Hailed as the "Millenium Cheese of Italy," Cacio di Fossa literally means "cheese of the pit." During the wars between Charles VIII of France and Ferdinand of Naples, the inhabitants of Sogliano al Rubicone would hide their cheese in underground fossas or holes. This tradition carries on according to a special and somewhat complicated ritual.
In mid-August, before each cheese is tied in a burlap sack and placed in fossas dug in the porous ground (tufo), they are disinfected with fire and lined with hay. The fossas are flask shaped, about three meters deep and two meters wide. Each sack is marked with the owners' name, stacked in layers on planks of wood, and separated by sand. They are packed close together so no air can get in. The fossa is then hermetically sealed. Over the months they undergo a total re-fermentation, losing practically all the whey. On November 16th this revered cheese is "harvested" during the holiday of Santa Caterina. While some people jealously cling to their cheese, others pull it from the ground, clean it, wrap it in it's characteristic brown paper, and secure it with a string to be sold during the festivities.
Fossa has an intense and somewhat piquant flavor that makes it excellent as a table cheese with fresh fruit and honey, or grated over pasta or risotto.
- Made from pasteurized sheep's milk.
- Photo depicts whole 4 lb. form of cheese.
- We cut and wrap this item by hand.