Thursday, February 24, 2011
Paški Sir: my first Croatian cheese
Having never been to Croatia I've not had an opportunity to try Croatian cheese and didn't expect to be able to buy it in the UK. Or even, to be honest, to be particularly impressed by the quality. But when Sirana Gligora, a Croatian producer offered to send me a sample, I was definitely up for it.
It's a relatively new artisanal sheeps' milk cheese called Paški Sir that comes from the island of Pag which according to the accompanying information sheet "is the most indented of the thousands of Croatian islands in the Adriatic."
You can see pictures of the leggy sheep the milk comes from on their very enterprising Facebook page here Apparently it's a unique breed which has become accustomed to the harsh conditions on the island and which grazes on the wild plants and herbs that are found there.
In taste and texture it was a bit like a cross between a Manchego and a Pecorino - moister than the former, deeper in flavour than the latter. Really delicious though I didn't go much for the accompanying fig balls (just me. My husband scrumped them). Apparently it's already picked up a number of awards including Best New Cheese at the 2010 World Cheese Awards.
It's imported by a firm called D'Issa who will have a full website up and running shortly but you can currently buy it from the shops below:
The Cheese Hamlet in Manchester
The Yellowwedge Cheese in Twickenham
The Cheese Society in Lincoln
The International Cheese Centre in London
Lairds Larder in Carlisle and Sawyers Deli in Belfast
They also have a blog which shows how the cheese is made and even a twitter stream (@PaskiSir). It's good to see an artisanal producer making such smart use of social media.