Lithuanian cheese is considered a brand in itself with a long history. Lithuanian experts in their field managed to conquer consumers not only from the countries of the former Soviet Union, but also from the EU countries.
The popularity is due to the fact that the modern industry of cooking a cheese product provides the opportunity to choose the option to your liking. But experts recommend starting by tasting a classic example that has a distinctive taste and smell. It is great both for eating in its pure form for a snack, and for using it as part of various dishes.
The secret of the rich selection of Lithuanian products are centuries-old traditions, which require the obligatory adherence to recipes left over from the heyday of the Principality of Lithuania. Even then, the locals knew a lot about how to make a light snack really safe for the stomach and at the same time good for health.
Beginning of Lithuanian traditions
Before the traditional Brest and various other modern offerings appeared on the shelves, cheese makers had to put in a lot of effort.
As the story goes, it all started with that an Arabian merchant named Kanan decided to take more milk on a long journey. At that time, especially many types of packaging material did not exist, so they preferred to transport liquids in wineskins, which were made from calf stomachs.
Something went wrong on the way, so when the wineskin was opened, it became clear that there was no milk there, but something equally tasty appeared instead. The calorie content of the novelty was high enough to be recognized by experienced travelers who needed daily replenishment of energy reserves during long wanderings.
The Lithuanians did not seem to carry out such experiments with wineskins, since their traditional cheeses, whose history stretches back to past eras, even then provided for rennet sourdough. It is made on the basis of a special part of the stomach of a lamb or calf, which is responsible for the production of the enzyme of the same name. Hence the rather different taste from numerous analogues, which is confirmed by the numerous reviews of those who dared to taste the products in private cheese dairies, where they adhere to the canons.
In addition to the need to use a specific starter, Lithuanian goodies have another distinctive feature. The step-by-step recipe provides for the need to cook the semi-finished mass twice as much. This approach guarantees the fact that the composition will please with a homogeneous consistency and creamy aftertaste.
In order to obtain elite branded varieties or the legendary extra aged variant, Lithuanians follow a few special rules:
- use milk from only certain breeds of cows;
- cows graze only on ecologically clean meadows;
- high water quality standards.
Together, this allows us to produce products with a quality mark, which even the most complex examination will not be able to convict of inconsistency.
An additional advantage is the fact that each individual producer usually specializes in a certain type of product:
But solids are still in high demand compared to other solutions. Their popularity could not even be interrupted by versions with cumin or other spices.
Despite the fact that the local market offers really many offers at different pricing policies, only two companies are called the real stars of the industry. They do not even need advertising, as they are known even outside their native country. We are talking about:
- “Peno zhvaigzhdes”;
- "Rokiskio Suris".
The first company is considered one of the leaders in the production of delicious cheeses throughout the country, which actively supplies its products for import for all gourmets in Europe. The year 1998 is commonly referred to as the plant's founding date, but in fact its history goes back to earlier years. The company was simply formed by the merger of several other large dairy companies.
During the period of productive work, the company managed to significantly expand the range of proposals, adding its own names to the classic versions. Today, the company boasts the release of five varieties of hard varieties and several types that belong to the dietary camp. In them, the percentage of content of lactose tends to zero.
Rokiskio suris announced itself as a brand a little earlier - in 1964. Production facilities are located in the town of Umkerg. Here, technologists still use the traditional recipe, which is about 500 years old, to produce elite cheeses.
This is confirmed by the cheese museum, which is located next door. There it will be possible not only to get acquainted with the main milestones in the development of the plant, but also to taste the most famous varieties at the same time.
Svalya and Jugas
Usually, no Christmas or any other festive table is complete without cheese. But cuttings made from Sval will be especially exquisite. This variety is distinguished by the fact that it undergoes a special fermentation procedure, but at the same time retains a delicate taste and creamy smell.
This is not a classic hard cheese, but its semi-hard reading, which is created using rennet. The fat content per hundred grams of the product is about 45%, so people who follow the diet will have to strictly adhere to the daily dosage. The calorie content here is 340 kcal.
Delicious best with wines, but some prefer to use it in sandwiches, sauces or cheese soups.
No less popular is Jugas. It is unlikely that it will be possible to repeat its manufacture at home, because the ripening period here stretches up to four years. It and the firm yellowish Rokiskio are recommended to be tasted by all tourists coming to the country.