‘Trench’ cheese is a speciality of two small bordering villages, Sogliano al Rubicone in Romagna and Talamello in the Marche. The small sheep or mixed milk caciottas, produced in the Montefeltro and Siena areas, are ripened in circular trenches dug out of the tufa subsoil. The process begins in mid-August when the trenches are disinfected with fire and subsequently lined with straw. The cheeses are then lowered into them enclosed in jute sacks and the trenches are refilled with sand and covered with wood planks. They are reopened on November 25 and the months spent in the enclosed heat, beneath of the weight of tens of kilos, changes their aspect considerably. The sheep cheeses ferment and take on unusual flavours that are unobtainable by any other means. Currently, the increase in demand for this product had required a production outside traditional areas and periods of the year, with a consequent decrease in quality. Authentic covered trench cheese is, in effect, produced by only a small number of people whose methods follow ancient methods and traditions.
|Aspect and texture:||hard, grainy, yellow paste, weeping liquids|
|Taste:||very intense and piquant with notes of tufaceous humus and mushrooms|
|Serving suggestions:||full bodied, aged, red wines. Mixed vegetable chutney. “Savòr” (a typical jam of fresh and dried fruits from Montegells in the area around Sogliano al Rubicone). Tuscan unsalted bread|
|Milk:||full fat, raw or pasteurised, sheep or mixed sheep and cow’s milk|
|Ripening:||three months in a covered hole|
|Weight:||1 kg each|
|Producers:||cheese ripeners in the traditional production area|