Passions & Places


The land of the special cheese

In 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.

The 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.

The 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).

Other 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. 

Cow’s 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.


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