It was the summer of 1944. The German army was resisting along the Gothic line the attacks of the “Allied forces”. The liberation of Italy depended on them. In the Marche countryside the ghost of famine got nearer and nearer. Everybody though wished for a future, that fortunately wasn’t long to come.
Farmers became to store their most precious goods in deep wells and ditches. They used to do so to preserve them longer, but they soon discovered that cheese acquired new intense flavours. When peace finally came they started to study this phenomenon and so they improved this method of storage until today. Actually, burying cheese should be an even more ancient practice but the elderly prefer to date it back to the difficult years of the Second World War.
Today Beltrami home business produces it with sheep milk and then leaves it to season in ancient and deep wells ,going back to 1400-1700. Temperature there floats from 17 to 20 C and dampness is at top levels (it can reach 100%). In such an environment bacteria modify the taste of cheese so much that in three months it acquires the characteristics typical of three years seasoned cheese.
Fat levels rapidly fall and when the pecorino is taken out of the ditches it results drier, more tasty and easy to digest.
Sheep are reared in pastures. Their milk is rich in flavour and herbaceous taste. The processing of the milk doesn’t comprehend pasteurizing it so that all nutritive elements and flavour are kept intact. The cheese paste results soft and crumbly. It presents a richness of aroma that only “fossa seasoning” can give. The small cheese are prepared at the end of spring-beginning of summer and are put in the wells from August to October. They are then taken out and cleaned. They are so finally ready to enjoy. An other way to get such a flavoured cheese is to put it in barrels of wood.
Enjoy this cheese with some slices of fresh bread and a glass of San Giovese.
The experience of our dairy masters is at your service.