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Everything about Pag cheese

Croatia is a widely known destination that recently attracts an increasing number of lovers of top gastronomy. Due to the pleasant climate all year round, the food here has a special taste. Croatia also produces cheeses that will be the main topic of this blog, and which often receive the highest recognition at important international competitions, such as the World Cheese Awards in London. In this blog, we will talk about some famous Croatian cheeses and describe Pag cheese, the symbol of the island of Pag, in more detail.

Cheese is produced in all Croatian regions

Cheeses are one of the most popular delicacies in Croatia, and it is hard to imagine a breakfast, appetizer, celebration or casual evening with wine without cheese. Although Croatia is a small country with modest production capacity, the cheeses here are of exceptional quality. A large contribution is made by numerous OPGs and rural households, but also by cheeses from large producers. No matter which part of Croatia you go to, you will find different production methods as well as different tastes of cheese. Local cultivation, pure and untouched nature and recipes that have been kept in the family for generations are also responsible for winning numerous awards and recognition on the world gastronomic scene as an original Croatian product. Top quality cheeses are eaten from Međimurje and Slavonia to Istria, Lika and Dalmatia.

The best cheeses in Croatia

Croatia has a rich tradition of cheese production, and apart from Pag cheese, there are other high-quality cheeses that, as we have already said, are produced in different parts of the country.
Here are some of the best cheeses in Croatia:
- Cheese from Zagora - cheese with a long tradition of production in Dalmatian Zagora. It is a hard cheese similar to Pag cheese, but it is made from cow's milk and has a spicy, salty taste.
- Lika cheese - another hard cheese produced in Lika from the milk of sheep and cows. It is characterized by its appearance and taste reminiscent of walnuts.
- Cheese from Trsat - produced in Rijeka and its surroundings from cow's milk. This cheese is a soft, fresh cheese with a mild taste.
- Škripavac - a traditional cheese from Slavonia that is made from cow's milk. This cheese is characterized by the fact that it "squeaks" under the teeth and has a fresh, milky taste.
- Gligora cheeses - Gligora cheeses are known for their quality and variety. This company produces several types of cheese, including Pag cheese, cow cheese from the Istrian region and sheep's milk cheese.
- Istrian cheeses - The Istrian region is also known for its quality cheeses. Various types of cheese are produced in this region, including hard as well as fresh cheeses such as curd. All these cheeses have their own unique characteristics and flavors and are worth trying.
- Zlatar cheese - This cheese comes from the Zlatar region in Croatian Zagorje. It is a semi-hard cheese made from cow's milk. Zlatarski cheese has a sweet and mild aroma.
These cheeses are only some of the most famous in Croatia, but there are other excellent cheeses produced in different regions of the country. We recommend researching local products and visiting specialty shops or markets in various Croatian cities to discover the wide range of cheeses available in Croatia.

History and production of Pag cheese

Pag cheese is an extremely important part of Croatian gastronomic heritage, and its history goes back centuries. We provide basic information about the history and production of Pag cheese.
The production of Pag cheese dates back to the 12th century on the island of Pag, located in the northern Adriatic. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the inhabitants of the island of Pag had their own dry stone walls where they milked sheep and made Pag cheese. Most of the pastures are located on the hilly parts of the island, and they are recognizable by the dry walls that surround them. From afar, the intricate stone walls resemble the famous Pag lace as they pass to the rocky peaks. Historically, there was no private ownership of pastures and sheep grazed freely on the entire land.
Over time, the pastures slowly became private, so the shepherds moved to the cities again. While shepherds traveled to and from pastures to tend their sheep, women took on the role of cheese makers.
The islands of this archipelago located at the foot of Velebit are characterized by strong winds, little vegetation and rocky soil, which influenced the development of special methods of sheep breeding and cheese production.
Sheep are crucial for the production of Pag cheese. The breed of sheep used for cheese production is Pag sheep, an autochthonous breed adapted to the difficult conditions of the island.
The production of Pag cheese has several specificities that make it unique. Pag cheese is produced exclusively from the milk of the Pag sheep. Sheep's milk is rich in fats, proteins and minerals, and the taste of cheese is enriched by the vegetation of the island of Pag. During grazing, sheep are fed with an aromatic mixture that grows on rocky and salt-enriched soil. Knowledge about the production of Pag cheese was passed down from generation to generation, and cheese factories on the island of Pag played a key role in the preservation and development of tradition.
In 2005, Pag cheese received the designation of origin (PDO) from the European Union, which guarantees its authenticity and geographical origin. The PDO label protects Pag cheese from unauthorized use of the name and guarantees high production standards.
Cheese has gained importance not only as food for the local population, but also as a commodity for the market throughout Croatia, so Pag cheese has become an important source of income for the locals.

Award-winning Pag cheese

Pag cheese is known for its high quality and taste and has won numerous awards at domestic and international competitions. Cheese factory Gligora, one of the most famous producers of Pag cheese, has won more than 100 awards at various cheese competitions around the world. These awards include gold medals at prestigious competitions such as the World Cheese Awards and the International Cheese Awards. Pag cheese also won the "Super Gold" award at the World Cheese Awards, which is the highest award given to cheeses at that competition. These awards confirm the high quality of Pag cheese and create the reputation of this cheese as a superior product.

Where to buy Pag cheese?

The best place to buy authentic Pag cheese are cheese shops on the island of Pag. There are several cheese factories on the island that produce Pag cheese and sell it directly to visitors. You can visit cheese factories such as Cheese factory Gligora, Boškinac or Mišlov and buy fresh Pag cheese there. These cheese farms also offer their own tours where you can try various types of cheeses and taste Pag's autochthonous wines. You can also find Pag cheese in markets all over Croatia and on the island of Pag, especially in larger city markets. Also, there are specialized grocery stores that offer various types of cheese, including Pag cheese.
Finally, we definitely advise you to come to Pag, enjoy the beautiful nature, clean air and timeless cheese. Nevertheless, it is one of the gastronomic symbols of the whole of Croatia.
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