Pit-aged cheese

formaggio di fossaThe pit-aged cheese is a PDO product from Sogliano; it can be made of pure sheep milk or mixed and takes this name because it is aged for three months in typical oval pits carved into the rock.
Its typicalness is given from this aging: the technique is very old.
From some ancient documents it is clear that the tuff pit had a double use: first of all it was the place of storage of the cheese in autumn, secondly it was the place where wheat was hidden in order to preserve it from the ravages of the soldiers during the rest of the year. The cheese today is placed, as in the past, in small canvas bags covered by hay, in order to isolate it from air.
The traditional pit-aging period was at the end of August-September; while the re-opening of the pits took place on 25th November, the day of St. Catherine.
The spring-summer time was characterized by an abundance of pasture and greater milk production, for this reason it was necessary to find a preservation mode.