Sunday, 13 November 2011

Paski Sir and more

The Sirena Dairy of the island of Pag in Croatia is one of the region's foremost producers and exportersof flavoursome, traditional cheeses.

The first of their cheeses that I was introduced to is Paski Sir, a hard cheese made from the milk of the sheep that are indigenous to the island of Pag.

The cheese has a subtle blend of flavours and is a hard and somewhat dry cheese. But the dryness is pleasant and fits well with the range of flavours that this cheese posses.

It is piquant, yet sweet. But it is not a cloying sweetness, because there are subtle undercurrents of various herbs, too. And the special grasses that the sheep feed on is also well represented.

This cheese is wonderful in cooking, a must for the sophisticated cheese board, excellent with grapes, apples and other fruits and the temptation to nibble “just one more piece of this wonderful cheese” is difficult to resist!

But it would be wrong to presume that this is the only type of cheese that the Gligoira Dairy makes.

Žigljen is a hard cheese made from a delicate blend of cow, sheep and goat milk from the Dalmatian region of Croatia. The cheesemakers believe it is “an abundance of spring water in the region together with the rich minerals of the land, our Žigljen cheese is slightly spicy with a distinctive aroma” and it is not possible to argue with that descrpition.

They age this cheese for a minimum of 3 months, they point out they present their mature Žigljen at 6 and 12 months.

Zigljen goes well with white wines, they recommend white wines such as Grasevina and Welschriesling.

They do point out that, should the Žigljen be more mature, you might find it profits to enjoy it with a red wine, instead, perhaps a Merlot or a Terran?

Kolan is another hard cow's milk cheese. This has a somewhat milder taste, though it should be recognised that it is still just as flavour-filled as its more mature sister cheeses. Kolan takes 3 months to mature. What wines do the cheese makers recommend? Paška Zutica, Riesling, Malvasia or other softer reds.

Kozlar is a goat's milk cheese. Which is a popular cheese, on account of its fruity, fresh taste. Popular cheese made from goats milk.

Figurica is a hard cheese thatr is produced using a combination of cow and sheep milk. It's matured form between 3 to 6 months, and has a spicy, pleasing taste. The wine recommendations are the same as for Zigljen. white wine like Grasevina and Welschriesling. If the Figurica is more mature, then reds such as Merlot or Terran are perfect.
The cheeses we were able to taste proves beyond a shadow of doubt that the day of the Artisan cheese maker is in the ascendancy!
Incidentally, if your local cheesemonger does not sell these cheeses yet, ask them why not? If they claim that they do not have their details, gently suggest that they should visit to find out how they can become an official stockist.

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