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Ivan Gligora's Pag Cheese awarded with the Superior Taste mark in Brussels 2010
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  12/2/2010 | Tourism , Croatian Cuisine , Companies , Awards , Business | Unrated
Included in the circle of seventy top food products in the world


Ivan Gligora with one of his Superior Taste Awards




Šime Gligora (son of Ivan Gligora) with his wife Ružica and members of the Gligora company awarded World Cheese Awards in Birmingham 2010
as the best among 2636 international cheeses


Cheese Judges in Birmingham 2010! This is not a joke! Try to count them yourself :)

 
Triple Super Gold at the World Cheese Awards for Sirana Gligora Paški Sir


As the World Cheese Awards in Birmingham announced the results at the BBC Good Food Show, no one from Sirana Gligora would have expected that Paški Sir would have made it all the way through the 2636 international cheeses to the final 14.

The morning session involved 209 internationally respected judges tasting their way through more than 40 tonnes of cheese  to decide the world best 30 and the worthy winners of Super Gold Medal, a cheese with outstanding class and distinction.

Sirana Gligora entered Paški Sir in the ‘sheep cheese cheese‘ category as well as ‘new cheese on the market‘ and ‘small producers cheese‘.  The Judges went for a well earned lunch (I can’t imagine what they ate) at 1pm and the preliminary results were out, Sirana Gligora was top of each class winning 3 Super Gold Medals and 3 places in the best 30 cheeses of the world, an outstanding result and a great testament to the cheese makers at Sirana Gligora.

When you consider the new Sirana Gligora diary was only opened in January 2010 it is even more
remarkable that such an outstanding cheese can be produced in its first year of operation.  In fact the cheese that was entered was 8 months old having been produced in March 2010, just two months after Sirana Gligora started production.  Expectations will be even higher at next years show.

After lunch a Supreme panel of 14 judges from 11 countries were assembled to re assess the 30 cheeses and decide upon the trophy winners.  An agonising wait for Sirana Gligora to see if they would make it through to the final 14 but with the odds on our side we were rightly confident as Sirana Gligora Paški Sir won the ‘Best New Cheese Trophy’ and surpassed all our initial expectations.

In the final Paški Sir was championed by the South African judge who passionately extolled the cheese and called for ‘the maker of this true artisan cheese to receive the recognition he deserves, the World Cheese Award would be good enough for this cheese’.  Truly remarkable praise for everyone involved with Sirana Gligora, the producer of this limited production artisan ewes’ milk cheese on the Island of Pag in Croatia.

Any milk can be made into cheese, even supermarket milk if you’ve got the know-how.  But Paški Sir refers to Cheese made from the milk of Pag sheep, or Cheese from the Island of Pag as the translation goes.


Ivan Gligora's Pag Cheese the best in the world in 2010

The Making of Paški Sir

The cheesemonger Weblog recently published the fascinating ‘8 basic steps to cheese making‘ aimed at giving you the knowledge and confidence to deal with your cheese monger.   The information was taken from Max McCalam’s latest book, ‘Mastering Cheese’ where he used the work of  Dairy Science professor Frank Kosikowski, the founder of the American Cheese Society. We thought it would be interesting to write how these basic steps are undertaken here at Sirana Gligora on the Island of Pag, where we make the award-winning limited production artisan ewes’ milk cheese Paški Sir.  Of course it is not a complete insight as some trade secrets must be protected, but we hope this gives you a good understanding of how Sirana Gligora Paški Sir is made, as well as giving you an added appreciation of our product.

Step 1: All about setting the Milk.

At Sirana Gligora we have more than 100 of our own sheep and buy milk from nearly 200 farmers from across the Island of Pag.  During the production season, the milk is delivered to the dairy twice daily where it is stored in its rawest form in special containers ready for production the following morning.

Some cheese makers chose to make cheese from the raw milk and believe that the pasteurisation process can damage the proteins which help to determine to the flavour of the cheese.  However, there are strict international laws on the transportation of raw milk products so sadly this practice is decline.  There is even talk in the USA of a total ban on raw milk products which would be a disaster for the industry.  Although many advocate the benefits of raw milk products the director of Sirana Gligora, Mr Ivan Gligora, found that pasteurisation of Pag milk has a negligible effect upon the final taste of Paški Sir.  Therefore, Sirana Gligora partly pasteurise the milk at 72°C for 3 minutes before the production begins.

Once the milk has settled into one of 3 vats at Sirana Gligora, starter bacteria are added.  These starters acidify the milk by turning the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid.  As the levels of lactic acid in the milk begin to rise, so the pH level of the milk drops and the taste becomes tart. The starters now begin to die and release their enzymes into the milk, these enzymes break down the fats and proteins (which in Pag milk are unusually high) that will influence the ripening and taste of the finished cheese.  The Proteins (mainly casein) are no longer able to keep a soluble structure in acidic conditions and they begin to precipitate out, causing what we recognize as clabbering

The milk must now be coagulated by adding rennet.  Traditionally Paški Sir was made with rennet extracted from the stomach of young lambs who would use these enzymes to process mothers milk.  Today Sirana Gligora use a floral extract so all of our products are in fact vegetarian, though there is talk of going back to the more traditional methods in the future.

The enzymes in the rennet as well as the fermenting of the lactic acid now begin to coagulate the milk into curds and whey.

Step 2 All about cutting the curds.

Visit us at www.gligora.com

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For enquiries send an e-mail to info@gligora.com

Source simonkerr.wordpress.com



Global interest in cheese has never been higher with old artisan cheeses reappearing at an increasing rate year upon year all over Europe, USA, South America and Australia.  Most of these are small independent dairies designed to meet the needs of a local community, but some are major international production sites.  But what has prompted this increasing demand for the age-old artisan cheese? I would suggest two factors, first to the interest in new exotic new cheeses and second, the high demand in emerging markets such as China, India, Russia and South America.

The growing interest in artisan cheeses is not only proved by the year-on-year increase in sales but also in the ever enthusiastic multitude of cheese festivals around the world.  And once a taste for cheese has developed, the passion for information about this beguiling subject is inexhaustible.

Cheese is both a simple product and an endlessly ponderable food.  It is made from just milk and bacteria, and yet the spectrum of taste and aromas from a matured cheese can be wonderous and beguiling.  How can such basic ingredients produce such an array of flavours?  The answer lies in the small variations of the cheese making process as well as the terroir.

Source http://simonkerr.wordpress.com/


Why do Pag sheep make great cheese?

As you drive along the winding roads on the Island of Pag it’s unlikely that you’ll see many of the 55,000 or so indigenous sheep that live here as they are as equally apt at hiding from the midday sun as they are at hiding from the winter Bura, the powerful winter wind that brings sea salt dust to the pastures from the Adriatic Sea.

With more than 3 sheep to every human living on the island, they have flourished under the expert husbandry of the local shepherds who for centuries have raised them to make a special cheese from their milk.  Paški Sir, or Island of Pag Cheese as it roughly translates.

Sirana Gligora in the village of Kolan, the heartland of good husbandry and Paški Sir production, have been making award-winning Paški Sir since 1995.  The director Mr Ivan Gligora, who is the most respected diary technologist in all of Croatia, has been able to infuse his families artisan cheese making skills along with modern dairy science and technology to produce a consistently high-class sheep’s milk cheese which has won many awards both at a national and international level.  With the new dairy which opened in January 2010 with European funding from SAPARD, Sirana Gligora now have one of the most technologically advanced dairies in all of Europe.

For the past 3 years the International Taste and Quality Institute in Brussels have awarded Sirana Gligora Paški Sir with the prestigious 3 Star Superior Taste Award. The following words were taken from what the top international Chefs and Sommeliers from the prestigious culinary organisations who were selected to judge at the iTQi said about Paški Sir:

Paški Sir is a wonderfully tasteful sheep milk cheese that brings full and complex flavor to the palate and melts nicely in the mouth. Authentic and unique, Paški Sir is a pure delight and displays quality in the making, leaving a long and pleasant aftertaste to savor. A yellowish creamy color with farmhouse aromas, Paški Sir has well balanced texture, taste, aromas and finish and is delightfully tasty.

With some of the best known cheeses around the world coming from sheep milk, Manchego from La Mancha in Spain, Roquefort from France and Italian Peccorino, it’s a wonder why cheese from the milk of sheep is so underrepresented compared to cow and goat milk.  But with Sirana Gligora Paški Sir, now ready for export around the world, this distinct minority has just gained a new high class member.

One of the reasons why there isn’t a higher representation of sheep milk cheese is milk production.  Milk yield from one sheep is much less than that of a goat or cow, and in addition sheep are also seasonal breeders which makes it difficult for farmers to breed sheep for all year round milk production.  The results of which make farmers chose the easier option of breeding cows of goats for dairy.

So why do the shepherds and farmers of Pag bother with the sheep?  The answer is easy, Paški Sir is the ultimate reward and those who have visited the island will be able to testify.

Not so many years ago, there was also an emerging wine production on the Island of Pag.  Paška Žuta is a dry white wine with tastes of honeycomb and lime which is still made in small quantities today.  The owners of the vineyards however, quickly realised that the land would be better used to raise sheep and thus the wine producing era of Pag came to a quick end.

As you can see things work a bit differently on the Island of Pag where there are no cows and you’ll be hard pressed to find a goat too.  Sheep breeding has developed here for over 1500 years and now the sheep have evolved to become their own special breed, Paska Ovca.  The rich heritage of cheese making on the island owes a lot to the artisan skills of husbandry where the Paška Ovca milk has evolved along with the animal.

On the rocky pastures where vegetation struggles to gain a foothold and is bombarded by the winter wind, the sheep are small in stature with specially adapted hoofs which make them apt at traversing the rocky land and foraging for the salted fresh wild herbs.  It’s exactly these conditions why the milk from these sheep have an unusually high butterfat and protein level which are the reasons for Paški Sir’s distinction.

“Ewes milk cheeses are a distillation of what good cheese can be,” says Sasha Davies, former cheese monger and author of the Web site ‘Cheese by Hand’ (www.cheesebyhand.com). “Ewes milk has an amazing range.” This is because the milk is higher in both butterfat and protein than cow or goat’s milk, meaning it is rich in components that are essential to good cheese, a quality that translates into a distinctive depth and complexity you simply won’t find in other cheeses.

For more information about Sirana Gligora Paški Sir please visit www.gligora.com .

Source simonkerr.wordpress.com



Island of Pag with a view to the legendary Croatian mountain of Velebit

The Pag sheep



Photos by the courtesy of Mr. Simon Kerr working at Sirana Gligora marketing, simonkerr.wordpress.com.

 
The famous Pag cheese produced in the cheese plant Sirena – Mala sirana in Kolan at Island Pag owned by Ivan Gligora, has recently been awarded two golden stars and the right to label this cheese with the Superior Taste mark at the international Superior Taste event in Brussels.

This is the greatest award so far for this cheese that has thus been included in the circle of seventy top food products in the world.

Produced exclusively from the milk of the autochthonous sheep on the Island of Pag, Paški Sir is the most awarded ewes’ milk cheese in all of Croatia.

Paski Sir is a protected source product and has received numerous awards and honours.

Gligora Paski Sir has a peculiar and subtle piquant taste and smell, it crumbles and melts in your mouth.

Our Paški Sir is decorated with prestigious awards from across Europe. This is how the international chefs and sommeliers from the prestigious culinary association of the International Taste and Quality Institute in Brussels described our Paški Sir in 2010: "Sirana Gligora Paški Sir is a wonderfully tasteful sheep milk cheese that brings full and complex flavours to the palate and melts nicely in the 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, Sirana Gligora’s Paški Sir has well balanced texture, taste, aromas and finish and is delightfully tasty."
Made from 100% ewes’ milk from the Island of Pag, the quality is in the taste...

Aged for a minimum of 6 months in our specially built limestone cave, we also sell at 12 and 18 months but only release the cheese at the optimum time. Our Paški Sir is a delight at any age but with detailed care and testing from our team of experienced affinures, Stari (mature) Paški Sir will bring to you a much fuller flavour and longer finish.



For ideal storing condition, keep Paški Sir between 12°C and 16°C with the relative humidity between 75 and 85% in a cold room or refrigerated, keep separate from other foods. For daily consumption, we recommend that our pre-packed Paški Sir be kept in the refrigerator.

To serve Paški Sir, cut into triangular slices and leave the rind on the edge. Best served at room temperature and can be preserved in Olive Oil as a whole or in slices. Pršut (Dalmatian double smoked ham) is a perfect accompaniment, along with salted anchovies, white bread or Paške bubice (Pag dough) with black olives. Alternatively, Gligora Paški Sir goes perfectly with grapes and Pag's Sage Honey along with Olive Oil from Lun on the Island of Pag.

Full matured Paški Sir is excellent with local dishes such as gnocchi, risotto, macaroni or polenta.
Paški Sir is served with stronger red wines like Plavac, Midwife, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Terran. Alternatively with whites such as Paški Posip, Paške Žutice and Rhine Riesling

Gligora Paški Sir goes perfectly with grapes and Pag's Sage Honey along with Olive Oil from Lun on the Island of Pag.

Source www.sirena.hr



Paški sir - Pag Cheese

 
The famous Pag cheese produced in the cheese plant Sirena – Mala sirana in Kolan at Island Pag owned by Ivan Gligora, has recently been awarded two golden stars and the right to label this cheese with the Superior Taste mark at the international Superior Taste event in Brussels.

This is the greatest award so far for this cheese that has thus been included in the circle of seventy top food products in the world.

Pag cheese (Paski sir) is a hard type cheese made from the milk of the autochthon sheep from island of Pag. Pag cheese matures for 6-12 months. It has characteristic piquant taste, particular smell and mildly marble and grained texture. It is yellow inside and has golden yellow rind. It crumbles and melts in the mouth. When grated, Pag cheese is used as an addition to many traditional fish and meat specialties. Pag cheese is in the form of a reel and weighs about two kilos.

Source www.find-croatia.com



Ivan Gligora in Brussels 2nd from the left

 
Bura, sheep, man, and the Island Pag. And here's a recipe for Pag Cheese, the most famous Croatian cheese.

The Bura - is a strong, cruel, unpredictable, dangerous and capricious northerly winter wind, only the strongest vegetation will survive its reach. Sultry aromatic plants like (Slavulja), Mint (Mentica), Lavender (Lavanda), Rockrose (Bušin), and Immortelle (Smilje) cling to the salted earth to escape its destruction.

Paska Ovca (Pag Sheep) – breeds have survived centuries grazing on the rocky pastures and feeding on the aromatic herbs of the Island. Adapted to survive the harsh winter conditions, Paska Ovca have become an autochthonous native breed and always, as is today, they roam freely on the rich pastures of Pag.

On the Island of Pag, only the strongest and most resilient will survive. Pag sheep and man have survived together over the ages, the sheep giving wool, leather, meat, and finally cheese which is the essence of the island. Rising before dawn in the winter Bura to milk the sheep, and building stone walls for their protection, it has never been easy on the Island of Pag...So who is the stronger, the Bura? The Island? The sheep or Man? Or a perfect fusion of unique conditions, which make Paski Sir the most distinctive cheese you will ever taste .

Source www.sirena.hr
 

 
During the Serbian aggression on Croatia in the 1990s, Zadar was under constant shelling and attack, but Ivan continued to work and help supply the city with fresh dairy product. After these difficult years, Ivan and his family, wife Maria and children Marina and Šime, decided to move back to their native Pag, where Ivan was employed again in the same factory, now called Paška Sirana, as Head of Production and Sales.

Today, the new Gligora Dairy employs 27 people and produces more than 50 tones of Paški Sir in a year, as well as over 150 tones of other cheese products. Gligora buys milk from over 200 of the islands shepherds.

Ivan’s son, Šime, who has a masters degree in Agriculture, continues his fathers work and leads the production of the new Dairy. Šime has won quality titles at the Zagreb Fair with Paški Sir, as well as a Silver Medal at the Nantwich International Cheese Awards in the UK, one of the biggest events on the world calendar with over 3000 entries from around the world.

Source www.sirena.hr



 
The island of Pag is famous not only for Pag Cheese - Paški sir, but also for the Pag Lace - Paška čipka, which has been protected by UNESCO. The Pag Lace is exhibited on each Pag Cheese that you buy.









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