The International Taste and Quality Institute in Brussels, which is made up of the leading European opinion makers of gourmet food, awarded Sirana Gligora Paški Sir four consecutive three Star Superior Taste Awards from 2008 to 2011.
After the brand’s success this year they offered The Food and Drink Innovation Network the unique opportunity to sample its range of matured cheeses to review for ourselves.
The leading chefs and sommeliers who makeup the international judging panel had extensive comments for the cheese.
“Gligora’s Paški Sir truly is a wonderfully tasteful sheep milk cheese that brings full and complex flavours to the palate and mouth.
“Authentic and unique, this cheese is a pure delight and displays quality in the making leaving a long and pleasant aftertaste to savour.
“A yellowish creamy colour with farmhouse aromas, Paški Sir has a well balanced texture, taste, aroma and finish and is delightfully tasty.”
At Sirana Gligora their Paški Sir is made with 100% Pag sheep milk with artisan techniques that can be traced back hundreds of years.
The Heritage of Paški Sir comes from the Island of Pag, which has a geographical location and unique micro-climate that provides ideal conditions for cheese making.
It’s thought the Illyrian people, the original inhabitants of the island, where the first to take advantage of the conditions.
Due to the island’s natural shallow inlet, salt production has also played an important part in Pag’s history with several powerful empires influencing the island’s culture and heritage.
Co-operatives across the country brought the cheese from the kitchen into the market place for the first time and Paški Sir slowly gained national recognition, the result was the decline of the wool trade and the cheese becoming the most important source of income for the villages.
All the basic ingredients and skills were in place but at this time the production of milk, cheese making and curing were all done under conditions that could not satisfy the strict legal conditions for food trafficking.
Sirana Gligora’s award winning products include;
Paški Sir, made using 100% Paška Ovca milk, a breed of sheep that has evolved on the island to deliver a milk that is high in butter fat and protein, is ideal for making cheese. The milk is thermised which allows the terroir to imbues itself into this creamy cheese.
With a balance between saltiness and acidity and a lingering finish to savour, it’s easy to see why our Paški Sir is held in such high regard.
Aged for a minimum of five months or 12 months for mature Paški Sir, the cheese crumbles and melt in the mouth.
The Kozlar cheese is made from goats hand milked and farmed to traditional methods.
The abundance of mineral water in the rich and fertile plains of Kotar permeates into the taste of our creamy goat cheese.
Using the same artisan skills with a hands-on approach to developing the curds, and aged for a minimum of 30 days, Kozlar is a fresh and creamy cheese with a slight citrus finish.
Awarded with a Bronze Medal at the World Cheese Awards 2010 and a one Star Superior Taste Award from the iTQi in 2011.
Žigljen is a more delicate infusion of cow and sheep milk which are sourced from the Dalmatian Hinterland and aged for a minimum of four months in our limestone cave.
Newly built with SAPARD EU funding, the cave can now accommodate up to 75,000 wheels of cheese and has a fully controllable climate where our team of skilled affinures turn and coat each wheel in locally produced olive oil.
This mixed milk cheese has a unique taste which is rounded off with a slightly spicy finish.
The Kolan cheese is again produced from thermised cow milk which is sourced from the Dalmatian Hinterland and selected from herds who only graze upon natural grasses and hay.
This mild and creamy cow milk cheese is named after the village in where Sirana Gligora sits.
Milder in taste and colour than their other products, Kolan is aged for a minimum of four months where, like all Sirana Gligora cheeses, Kolan is washed in brine and rubbed with local olive oil with keep the moisture inside and adds to the smooth finish.
Paška Skuta is a fresh albumin cheese made from the whey of Paška Ovca milk.
High in nutrients, this ricotta style cheese is popular along the coastal regions of Croatia.
Sirana Gligora are committed to sustaining ethical and traditional farming in Croatia, and in particular on the Island of Pag where sheep farming is often the most important source of income for many families.
The have over 200 sheep of their own but help support their community by sustaining a fair price for Pag sheep milk which is amongst the most expensive milk in Europe, they buy from over 200 of the island farmers and continue to invest for future generations.
The cheese makers have picked up awards from 2000 when they were presented with the Gold Medal at the The First Croatian Cheese Exhibition, since then they have contented to scoop top awards this year being awarded the International Taste Award for the fourth consecutive year.
Sirana Gligora only sell direct to specialist independent cheese shops and delis and the UK availability currently includes:
The Cheese Hamlet, Manchester
The Cheese Society, Lincoln
Yellowwedge Deli, Twickenham
International Cheese Centre, London
Sawyers Deli, Belfast
The Lairds Larder, Carlisle
La Fromagerie, London
Paxton and Whitfield, London/Bath
For more information on the award winning cheese brand click here to visit the website.