Pag cheese

Because of the centuries-old way of making the Pag cheese is still being used, it is the trademark of the whole island of Pag, a specialty known not just in Croatia, but all over Europe and the rest of the world.

For the production of 1 kg of cheese, 7 liters of sheep milk is used. There are about 40.000 - 45.000 sheep on the island of Pag.

In the season of sheep milking, about 5.000 liters of sheep milk is processed during one day. About 650 kg of cheese is produced a day from the production plant.

The annual production of cheese is about 200 tons..

How the cheese is made

" In the process of making the cheese, the old Liburnian technologies of making it have been kept. The process is made up of milking, curdling and maturing of the cheese. The milking of sheep starts in January. The milk is then being curdled, or goes through a special process of mixing with "sirišće", slightly heating it. After that the milk is made into special, very thick milky grit from which the white clots are taken out and put into moulds. From the rest we get whey. After the clots of milk are out into moulds it is kept in a brine which is basically very salty water.

The sheep eat that kind of grass (grass mixed with all kinds of salty tastes) and because of that the milk is special, distinct and cannot be produced artificially. In that lies the essence of what makes the Pag cheese so special in every kind of way. This cheese falls into the category of hard cheese, but within hard sheep cheese it has its special place. It is fragile, it melts in your mouth and it can be used, like other kinds of cheese, for making dishes which demand melting on high temperatures. This cheese, when put on high temperatures (e.g. a pan), is not going to melt but is going to get real hard.

After that the loops of cheese that weigh about 2 - 3 kg are put into special, dark rooms, on wooden shelves, where the cheese goes through the process of maturing. The longer the cheese matures the better the quality of the cheese is. You can find 2 types of cheese on the market, young cheese and old cheese. The young one matures for 5 months, while the old one matures for one year if not longer."

The specificity of Pag cheese is given by its basic component - the milk of a Pag sheep. This milk has a specific taste to it, it has elements that sheep milk from other parts of the country does not have. The island of Pag is very rocky, has very little grass growing on it and is covered in layers of salt which brought by a specific kind of wind and storm during the winter.