Sirana Gligora Confirmed As The Worlds Best Sheep Milk Cheese Producer
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CHEESE CONTEST, USA
- Wisconsin, an American state of 125 dairies which produce between them 1,2 billion kg of cheese every year.
- Sirana Gligora of Kolan, population around 700, Gold medal winner at the World Cheese Championships.
Another spectacular new cheese from Sirana Gligora, Paški sir iz maslinove komine, finished top of class with a gold medal in the ‘Hard sheep milk cheese’ category at the World Cheese Championships in the USA (20.03.2014)
At the 30th biennial World Cheese Championships in Wisconsin, the cheese capital of America, Sirana Gligora is once again the Croatian flag bearer displaying to the world the quality of our domestic products and in particular our amazing cheese. Some 2619 cheese from 22 countries were sniffed, cut, bored and tasted by 50 international judges, and perhaps not so surprising is that of the 90 categories available, 22 were won by US cheese makers.
In the Hard sheep milk cheese category, Croatian dairies sent 6 entries in total which competed against famous cheeses from America and some outstanding European cheeses from Spain and Italy. After rigorous judging the results were announced and Sirana Gligora’s Paški sir iz maslonove komine was declared the best in the world, beating some special reserve Spanish sheep milk cheeses who finished in the remaining medal positions.
Croatian Dairies have been sending cheese to the World Championship Cheese Contest since 2012 and this award for Sirana Gligora is the first time a Croatian cheese has triumphed with a medal at the awards.
‘We are delighted with this result’ says Managing Director Šime Gligora, ‘We finished top of the same class at the International Cheese Awards in the UK last year with Paški sir, which shows this is no accident. That was followed by the Best Central and Eastern European Cheese Trophy at the World Cheese Awards, and now we’re recognized again as the best producer of sheep milk cheese in the world’.
Šime tells us that traditionally, cheese makers of Pag used to preserve their cheese in mošt (pressed grapes after wine production) before the advent of refrigeration, a practice that Sirana Gligora reopened two years ago with Sir iz mošta. This lead to Šime and director Ivan Gligora a trying the same technique with maslinove komine (pressed olives after olive oil production) lead by the motto ‘Why not try it’. ‘We put aged Paški sir into domestic olive press remains called komine’. Although Šime say it was completely experimental, it was with expert hands and generations of cheese making experience which greatly influenced the outcome.
Sirana Gligora first made Sir iz maslinove komine in November 2013, a brand new cheese which had all the dairy staff involved. ‘We were very excited about this cheese from day 1′ says master affenure Ivanka Jurčević. ‘ We took some Paški sir that was produced in May, this is very special time to make cheese because the wild sage on Pag is in full bloom, meaning that the milk is much stronger. After maturing it for 5 months in the normal way we then submerged it in maslinove komine, followed by several stages of special care. A lot of work went into this cheese but we knew when we tasted it for the first time that we had created something special.’
Sirana Gligora produced around 5 tonnes of Sir iz maslinove komine last November from Paški sir, Kolan, Dinarski sir, Žigljen and Tezački sir which are still available in all Sirana Gligora cheese shops in Croatia.
Sirana Gligora shops can be found in Zagreb, Rijeka, Opatija, Pula, Novalja, Kolan, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.