The Batzos PDO is a hard or semi-hard cheese, which matures and is preserved in pickle. It is produced with fresh or pasteurised sheep's or goat's milk, or with an ovine and caprine milk combination.
The milk is made to curdle at a fairly low temperature - approximately 28-32?C - for about 50 minutes, until a soft mixture is obtained. The curd is then separated, and left to deposit in a specific kettle for approximately 30 minutes, then mixed and heated up to a maximum of 45°C for 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, it is put to drain in rough cloths and the day after it is cut into slices, which are salted on the surface with kitchen salt. After five days the moulds are placed in metal containers with pickle that has a salt concentration of approximately 10-12%, where they lay maturing for approximately three months, in a cool environment. After conclusion of the maturation, a whey is obtained, which has a fat content of 2,5% and is traditionally used for the production of the Manouri PDO cheese.
Appearance and Flavour
Batzos PDO has small holes and no rind. Its characteristics are a square shape and a colour varying from white to light yellow. Its taste is sourish, very salty and also slightly spicy.
The Batzos PDO production area is within the prefectures of Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki, Kilkis, Imathia, Pieria, Pella, Florina, Kozani, Kastoria and Grevena, in the regions of Western and Central Macedonia and in the prefectures of Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa and Magnesia in the Thessaly region.
The history of the Batzos PDO is linked to its traditional preparation method which builds on the milk from goats and sheep bred in a traditional manner, within the boundaries of the geographic area, and on the ripening in cellars located exclusively in the production area. This cheese is very appreciated in Greece and its traditional preparation method is still respected today.
The Batzos PDO should be kept in a cool and dry place or in the refrigerator at a temperature of 4°C. It is usually enjoyed raw and fresh as table cheese, but is also used as ingredient for salads or to embellish typical Greek dishes. It is very tasty served with bread and olives and is perfect with red wines from the production area.
The product is sold as Batzos PDO. It is marketed whole, by weight or in pre-packaged 500 g portions.
The Batzos PDO has a low content of fat, equalling 19-20%, a characteristic that makes it particularly suitable for low calorie diets, in comparison to other cheeses.