Why You Need to Try Slovenian Cheese
Slovenia’s traditional approach to food production is something that ensures much of the native dishes are made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Although they have their fair share of fast food and sweet snacks which are perfect for a quick bite to eat, there is an overwhelming focus on nurturing the local cuisine and creating a unique identity for Slovenian food. Cheese is something that Slovenia does very well, although it’s not always recognised for this in western European countries. When you visit, it’s a must to try the different styles of cheese available! Here’s our guide on where in the country you can find various forms of this dairy delight!
Traditionally produced using all or mostly sheep’s milk, Bovec is a round cheese that brings an intense and full flavour, with slightly spicy aromas. The town of Bovec, from which the cheese is named, is located in the northwestern corner of the country. So, if you’re planning on heading to Bled or Triglav National Park, chances are you’ll be able to grab a slice of this delight. This cheese has also been given the EU’s ‘Protected Designation of Origin’, meaning that the cheese has to be produced in line with the stringent criteria in order to be called Bovec.
With its name taken from the Nanos Plateau, this cow’s milk cheese has been produced in this region for over 500 years. The cheese takes roughly two months to mature, after which you can expect a full flavour that offers slightly salty and spicy notes. The more the cheese matures, the more intense the flavours become, perfect for those who like a strong-tasting cheese.
The milk that is used for the cheese is exclusively taken from Brown Swiss cows that live within the area of the Nanos Plateau. This exclusivity, along with the unique combination of flora and climate gives this cheese a unique taste.
Made in the northern areas of Mala, Velika and Gojška Planina, this cheese is produced using a combination of cottage cheese, cream and salt and is presented in a pear shape. The cheese is typically used as a garnish and grated or sprinkled over risotto, pasta, soups or salads. It can also be consumed as part of a starter or dessert in thin slices.
Trnič also comes with a story and heritage. It is considered by many as the most romantic of the Slovenian cheeses, as at the end of every harvest season shepherds would bestow their partner with a block of this cheese as a symbol of love, or as a promise to marry them. As Trnič came in pairs, one would be kept by the shepherd. Nowadays, the cheese is still seen as a symbol of love and can make a great gift for your loved ones or as a reminder of your time in Slovenia.
Again, produced in Western Slovenia, the Tolminc cheese is known among natives as the ‘King of Mountain Heaven’. The cheese is semi-hard and is produced solely in the towns of Tolmin, Kobarid and Bovec. Similar to Nanos, it is a cow’s milk cheese that comes from a predefined area. The cows used to produce the milk are highly adapted to living in mountains and highlands and are a breed called Cika.
The cheese is left to mature for between anything from two months to a year and presents with a sweeter and tangy taste.
Traditionally produced on mountain farms in the region around Bohinj, Mohant is made from raw cow’s milk and comes with a light beige colour. This semi-soft cheese comes with a rather musty aroma and is well known locally for its tangy and bitter taste.
Unlike other cheeses here, the production method changes according to the time of year that it is being produced. During the warmer months of summer, full-fat milk is used and takes typically six weeks to reach maturity. However, during the winter months, skimmed milk is used, and the ripening process can take up to three months. In 2013, Mohant received the EU protected designation of origin status, meaning that future generations of cheesemakers will need to adhere to the strict production processes set in place.
Do you fancy heading to Slovenia to try some of the amazing food and drink there? Why not check out our range of Slovenian experiences here? During the winter, the husky experience will allow you to visit the capital of Ljubljana and enjoy the northern town of Bled. Alternatively, check out our blog for lots of info on visiting Slovenia!