Formaggio di Fossa

July 3, 2008 / Food & Wine
Sogliano al Rubicone

Formaggio di Fossa, literally “pit cheese”, is now a well known delicacy from Romagna . . but few know that this wonderful oddity was created quite by chance!

A sharp-tasting pecorino (sheep) cheese, formaggio di fossa spends three months wrapped in cloth and buried in deep, straw lined pits. Here the cheese settles under 10 feet’s worth of its own weight, coming out distinctly squashed, without much of a rind, with a firm or semi-firm texture, and a pungent and slightly bitter taste.

Why the pits? During the middle ages the Romagnoli dug them to hide taxable goods (meaning everything) from the Papal tax agent. Upon pulling the cheese out however, they noticed its distinctive and pleasant flavor. The earliest mention is in the 1200s . . . that’s a long time to be evading taxes!

Elsewhere civil disobedience has brought bloodshed . . so hats off to the people of Sogliano al Rubicone where it has resulted in extraordinary and delicious cheese!

Images courtesy of the Comune di Sogliano, Le foto sono usate per gentile concessione del Comune di Sogliano, grazie!

by Vanessa DellaPasqua

Owner of Global Epicurean, a bespoke travel services provider organizing culinary trips to Romagna, and publisher of

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