Among the most delightful Croatian gourmet foods, the source of inspiration for numerous international gourmet writers and culinary bloggers, a priceless gastro gem – Pag cheese – is famous for several good reasons.
Whenever you read about the distinguishing features of the island, you will read about the sheep, lamb meat and the cheese. When you arrive in Pag, it won’t take you too long to understand why the island is famous for the sheep because you will surely encounter at least one flock in the first 10-15 minutes of your walk. Together with tourism and fishing, sheep-breeding has been the elementary source of income for people on the island for decades and centuries. Similarly, the native wild vegetation on the eastern part of the island has shown a relentless will to survive the mighty gusts of wind from Velebit.
The way the sheep live in nature and the herbs they eat every day are the basic reasons why the cheese has such qualities. Mediterranean flavours from the indigenous plants with very specific aromas define its taste. The texture and consistency are brought about due to the maturing processes based on traditional local recipes and improved in Paška sirana and Gligora cheese factory. Both factories have received several international recognition and awards. The production technology is based on tradition, but the new needs – and the extent to which the production has grown – precondition the improvements and delicate experiments.
What kind of cheese it is and what makes it so special?
It is an artisan sort of cheese of a hard texture, recognizable thickness and mild, delicate taste with flavours recalling the aromas of the rare plants such as medicinal herb called Pag’s Sage. Nonetheless, besides the aromas and the mild overall impression, the salty element of the taste is among its essential features.
Regardless of being available at international markets, it is the best to try it on Pag – preferably accompanied by the wines made from the indigenous grape varieties, olives and prosciutto.