FOCUS IN SHORT

Vojkas and syrec are protected

THE LIST of Slovak food products on the list of protected traditional specialties is getting extended. The European Commission (EC) approved two Slovak cheese products for the list of protected geographical indications (PGIs): Zázrivské vojky in September 2014 and Klenovecký syrec in January 2015.

Bryndza, a traditional type of Slovak sheep’s cheese.Bryndza, a traditional type of Slovak sheep’s cheese. (Source: SITA)

Zázrivské vojky are a steamed cheese product, smoked or unsmoked, in the form of strings which are 10-70 cm long and 2-16 mm thick. They are made from lump cow cheese using a traditional method, whereby fermented, partially ripened lump cheese is steamed in hot water and then pulled by hand, or with the aid of two rollers, into long strings which are known locally as vojky. The pulled and finished strings are presented in multiples, either loose or twisted, and sometimes bound in the middle by means of a string. They must be packaged in the defined geographical area – meaning the village of Zázrivá in northern Slovakia or its vicinity – immediately following manufacture in order to preserve their specific shape and to safeguard the quality of the product.

Zázrivá is a typical mountain region with suitable conditions for rearing and grazing sheep and cattle and processing their milk into cheese, the EC claims, continuing that oral tradition has it that domestic production of strings and other cheese products in Zázrivá dates back to the second half of the 19th century, as the production of steamed cheese products, including strings, for sale was the only source of income for local sheep and dairy cattle farmers at the time.

Klenovecký syrec is a semi-hard, ripened cheese, smoked or unsmoked, in the form of a wheel 10–25 cm in diameter or in wedges of 10–14 × 12–16 × 8–12 cm. The basic raw material for Klenovecký syrec is sheep’s or cow’s milk with added milk cultures isolated from raw sheep’s milk.

It is produced either directly in a salaš (a hut used by a shepherd when keeping sheep on summer pastures) or on a farm, using the salaš method of production, or at dairies, using the industrial method. The surface of the cheese is unbroken, with a particular mosaic pattern: a circle 4–6 cm in diameter containing a cross or four-leaf clover which is embossed into the cheese. Klenovecký syrec may have a soft rind or may be coloured green, or be coloured using wood ash, the EC wrote in its materials.

Vojkas and syrec have been added to the list which features, among others, a fine pastry product Skalický trdelník, cheeses Slovenská parenica, Slovenská bryndza, Slovenský oštiepok, Tekovský salámový syr, and Zázrivský and Oravský korbáčik.

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