Pecorino Fossino

Raw milk Fossa cheese – limited edition

9.75 39.00 

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This Pecorino cheese was a project that we had in mind already for a bit, but this year it was finally born out of a real necessity. When the Italian government announced the lock down of the country, a lot of our clients like restaurants and shops were forced to close their doors (like our restaurant as well) and on the other hand guests couldn’t come to visit the farm. As a consequence our cheese aging rooms little by little filled up with cheese wheels and we had to find a solution to store them somewhere else and this is where the fossa (=underground ditch) came in.

120 wheels of our semi aged Pecorino were brought to Sogliano al Rubicone in Emilia Romagna, where you can find the famous underground tuff ditches for cheese aging. Only a handful of places all over Italy follow this ancient tradition dating back to medieval times – and we were lucky to get some spots in a ditch for the aging of our cheeses.

 

What happens in the ditch?

There are two times per year when the ditches are filled with cheese – one at the of march and one around the beginning of august. Before cylindrical ditches are filled with the cheese wheels, each wheel is inspected carefully. The cheeses need to be cleaned to be without any traces of molds on the outside to avoid that the hundreds of cheese wheels stored in the ditch are contaminated. After a successful examination five cheeses are put into a kind of cotton sack and placed into the ditch with the name of each producer signed on it. These sacks are then piled on top of each other until the ditch is full – immagine a kind of Tetris-scenario with hundreds of cheeses. Afterwards the ditch is filled carefully with hay and sand, closed with a wooden lid and then sealed for 3 months. During these 3 months an anaerobic fermentation takes place.

 

How is a Fossa cheese like?

The cheeses coming out of the ditch are completely transformed in taste and shape. Due to the weight and moisture in the ditch the cylindrical cheese wheels have developed a very peculiar irregular shape looking more like a “roundish rock” in the end with a yellowish-brownish touch.

The taste is very strong and definitely for lovers of non-timid cheeses. The consistency is a bit crumbly, but suitable for being grated as well – or even melted. The rind of our fossa cheese is not edible.

A nice pairing is with a strong chestnut honey, or also a plum-marmalade. Wine wise you should opt for a full bodied red or even a dessert wine.