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Masters from
the 14th century

The Rossini family, direct descendants of the Mengozzi family, have been carrying on the tradition of Formaggio di Fossa® for 28 generations with love and passion.

Find out how Formaggio di Fossa® was born.

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Il poeta Giovanni Pascoli
"The Mengozzi family produces the best cheeses in Romagna."

Giovanni Pascoli, 1895 - Letter to his cousin Emilio David

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Fossa malatestiana di epoca medievale delle Antiche Fosse

Origins

One of the main problems of the population in the Middle Ages was the need to preserve foodstuffs, such as grain and cheese, in anticipation of long winters and possible calamities, famines and sieges. Various methods can be noted for preserving food, and placing foodstuffs underground, in grain pits or ice houses, was among the most common in the Romagna area. These pits had as their main purpose the conservation of grain, to which, however, cheeses and other foodstuffs were sometimes added.

However, this methodology had limitations in the conservation of the cheese, and the results were not very satisfactory: the production of caciotte in the areas bordering Sogliano was high and required a different and more effective procedure.

First experiments

Rossini's family home (direct descendant of the Mengozzi family, owner of the Antiche Fosse) they began to try other methodologies aimed at preserving the cheese.


After years of experimenting, it was thought of filling a cheese pit completely. This pit had to be smaller than the common grain pits, since the cheese, if placed in very large pits, would not have supported the pressure due to the weight.

 

With this new procedure, excellent results were obtained as regards conservation, but with surprise it was noted that the cheese acquired new characteristics which gave the cheese a special aroma and taste.

(If you want to know more about the production itself, check out the page "Production").

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Pitting: a public service

This method of processing and storage was a success in every way. Therefore the Malatestas of Rimini, a family that dominated the territory of Sogliano, decided to make the pitting of the cheese a public service, and they charged our family with carrying out this task for anyone who wanted to transform their own cheese.

The house where the Fosse are located then became a Casa dell'Abbondanza (in english: Home of Abundance), which was an institution of the Malatestas which provided for the performance of a public service.

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Foto storica della sfossatura di Formaggio di Fossa dalle Antiche Fosse di epoca medievale di Sogliano al Rubicone.

From the Middle Ages to the present day

The Malatesta codes of the 14th century, the statutes of Rimini of 1334, and the statutes of Sogliano al Rubicone of the 1400s clearly demonstrate that even at the time, the pitting techniques were regulated and controlled.

When the Malatesta dominion over Sogliano al Rubicone ended in 1640, our family continued to carry out the trade of cheese pitner, keeping the tradition unchanged up to the present day. If our ancestors hadn't continued this trade uninterruptedly, and hadn't handed it down from father to son, today we wouldn't be aware of this tradition, since the documents that mention it, often with different terminologies, are extremely rare.

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Historical anecdotes and curiosities

Year 1736: the seller of Formaggio di Fossa

In a notarial deed dated 1736, the trader from Sogliano A. Onesti undertook to supply two traders from Faenza as much as 30,000 pounds of cheese (more than 100 quintals) at a cost of 2.95 scudi/100 pounds with the description "the cheese that currently made and will be made in Sogliano".


Considering the very high price for the time, it can be deduced that it was Formaggio di Fossa®.

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Alcuni dei nostri ambassador storici

Gli amanti del nostro Formaggio di Fossa che hanno fatto la storia.

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