Archestratus of Gela, the first gourmet, believed that the best dessert was prepared with Athenian cheese and Attican honey.
Columella (4-70 AD) noted that, “Cheese serves both to nourish farmers and adorn the most elegant of tables”. He also noted the ingredients for a cheese salad, namely pine nuts, toasted hazelnuts, oil, vinegar, black pepper, savory, thyme, oregano and mint.
In “De Agricoltura”, Cato the Censor (243-149 BC) lists some of the most important recipes of the time which used cheese, such as placenta, puff pastry made with wheat flour and garnished with cheese, honey, laurel leaves and oil; scribilita, a cheese-based dessert garnished with honey; and libum, a flour-based focaccia prepared as follows: weigh two pounds of cheese into a mortar; when well-ground, add a pound of wheat flour or, for a softer cake, half a pound of fine flour, and mix well. Add one egg and mix together well. Shape the dough into a loaf, place it on some leaves, cover with a lid and cook over a hot flame.
Virgil (70-19 BC) was a glutton for moretum, a dry, ground cheese served with oil, vinegar, garlic cloves, celery, rue and cilantro.
In his recipe book “De re coquinaria”, Apicius (1st century AD) lists the cheeses which one should always have in the kitchen: caseus recens, fresh cheese, caseus dulcis, mild cheese and caseus mollis, soft cheese; ground cheese mixed with milk, honey and eggs was also the base of a sauce used to cook different types of fish.
In “Fasti”, Ovid (1st century AD) explains how to make a dish with Pecorino: Take the fresh cheese, chop it into cubes or slices and arrange it on a serving dish. Make a sauce from finely chopped garlic, rue, cilantro and celery combined with a few drops of green oil. Drizzle the sauce over the cheese and serve.