Pag island cheese

Pag island cheese

The most highly acclaimed cheese in Croatia is Paški sir, the cheese from the island of Pag. Sheep bred on this island are among the smallest in the whole of the Mediterranean and therefore their milk yield is low, but it is the result of the meagre grazing abounding with medicinal herbs. The fierce bora swoops down from Velebit, whipping up the salty waters of the sea and blowing them across these meadows, which at times become white with salt, as if snow covered.

 

Consequently, the milk that these sheep give is naturally salty and needs no additional salt. Cheese produced on this island, particularly in the cheese dairy in Kolan, has in recent years won the highest awards at prestigious exhibitions in the Mediterranean. It is in such demand that it is sold after a maturing period of only a few months. On rare occasions is it allowed to mature for a year or more and it is undoubtedly one of the finest sheep cheeses in the world.

 

The quality of sheep milk from Pag is such that its curd is also regarded as a first class specialty. The whey remaining after curdled fresh cheese has been removed is heated and gently cooked, bringing to the surface a product resembling fresh clotted cheese, locally known as puina. It is excellent when served with home-cooked polenta or pasta, and makes a delicious dessert when mixed with Pag honey, and when used as filling for pancakes.

Ivo Biočina