land of the special cheese
a region such as the Marches, characterized by crops and cattle breeding,
a wide selection of cheese products is obviously available. Products are
strictly linked to the individual local traditions; each area of the
territory boasts its own type of cheese, resulting from a processing that
abides by the most ancient recipes. In each area of the Marches fresh
ricotta cheeses and hard cheese are produced, each of which has different
characteristics as for preparation, spicing and seasoning. Gourmets have
the chance to taste a wide range of different and exquisite flavours.
type of cheese produced all over the Marches is the classical Pecorino (ewe’s
milk cheese), it has local variations such as those of the Sibillini Mounts
or Mount Rinaldo, the barrel and mountain variations). Near Talamello
another cheese is produced; the tasty Formaggio di Fossa (a cheese
prepared with sheep and cattle milk, called by some “Ambra di
Talamello” (Talamello’s Amber). This cheeses resulted by the rural
custom to protect cheeses from any pillages, wrapping them in lengths of
cloth and concealing them on the bottom of tufa holes, which were then
sealed. After ripening for three months on straw or walnut leaves, this
renowned cheese is usually eaten in November, on Saint Catherine’s Day,
when the holes are re-opened during a celebration.
Montefeltro area also boasts the good Casècc (ripened in
earthenware jars) and the Casciotta d’Urbino, a cheese
appreciated by Michelangelo Buonarroti, too. It is a soft cheese made from
a mixture of different milks, and cured for a short time inside barrels,
it has recently been awarded the d.o.c. and d.o.p. labels (controlled
denomination of origin, and protected denomination of origin).
cheeses to be mentioned are the Formaggio ubriaco al Vino rosso (a
cheese seasoned in red wine), typical of the Ancona and Macerata
provinces, where it is seasoned with the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba and
Vernaccia di Serrapetrona wines respectively, and the lemon-shaped Cacio
(a typical cheese of the Metauro valley). It is produced pouring the
curd in lemon-shaped moulds; to achieve its peculiar flavour, salt and
grated lemon skin are spread onto the cheese during the seasoning.
milk allows for the production of very good fresh cheeses, such as the Raviggiolo
and the Slattato whereas goat milk is used to produce the
savoury Caprino di Urbino (a cheese that undergoes a long period of
seasoning), and the Quark, a cheese that may be spread on bread and is
best tasted with chive and rocket.
As happens with all typical products, the cheeses of the Marches are
enhanced during festivals and exhibitions, such as the one taking place
every June in Gualdo or the great Cheese Fair, organized in
August in Sant’Agata Feltria. Other cheese festivals are organized in
November in Talamello, (Formaggio di Fossa), or in May in Auditore
(fava beans and cheese). Walking among the stands, surrounded by thousands
of whole cheeses and stirring scents, visitors will have the feeling of
being in the middle of a struggle, a valiant battle of tastes in which
cheese always wins.
Liberation Ventures Ltd.