The name "Valsassina" has its roots in Latin, with "val-var" (Valley), signifying a place enclosed by mountains, and "saxum" (stone or rock), translating to "Valley of Stone." This rugged, mountainous terrain is where Gildo Formaggi history takes shape.
Valsassina and Val Taleggio are celebrated for producing one of Italy's most treasured cheeses, Taleggio DOP. These two sides of the same mountain are distinct in character. Val Taleggio boasts gentle slopes, lush forests, and pastures stretching nearly two thousand meters into the sky, while Valsassina, their side of the mountain, is a rugged and rocky landscape. How did their forebears discover the treasure this land held? It was a matter of observing nature.
During the winter, they noted that warmer air flowed from the mountain, with temperatures often around 10 degrees Celsius, even when the town below experienced freezing conditions. In the winter, this warmer air melted the snow, while in the summer, when the town sweltered at 30 degrees, the mountain air remained refreshingly cool – a natural, cost-free form of air conditioning.
Recognizing the value of cold as a natural preservative, they initially used this frigid air to store food. Over time, these natural recesses evolved into more advanced cheese cellars, constructed from rock, cement, and bricks. Gildo Formaggi’s cheese cellar, dating back to around 1850, is considered one of the most important and sought-after in the valley, thanks to its size and the exceptional quality of the cheese it produces. Gildo Formaggi proudly continues this tradition, crafting exceptional raw milk cheeses that capture the essence of Valsassina's unique terroir.