The Bryndza Podhalanska PDO is a soft cheese obtained from sheep's milk, of animals belonging to the sheep race Polska Owca Górska (Polish mountain sheep); at times, cows' milk is used, belonging to the race Polska Krowa Czerwona (Polish red cow). The percentage of cows' milk, if used, cannot surpass 40% of the overall milk used in the production.
The production of Bryndza Podhalanska PDO only takes place between May and September. The rennet for curdling is added to the milk, and once the curd is formed, it is broken into bits. The lumps of curd separate from the whey and a mass of cheese forms, which is taken out and left to drip. The cheese obtained is left to rest and ferment; after fermentation, it is broken into bits, mixed with salt and finally pressed.
Appearance and Flavour
The Bryndza Podhalanska PDO has a soft paste, a colour varying between white and cream, possibly with a pale green shade. Its taste is spicy, salty or slightly salty and at times a bit sour.
The Bryndza Podhalanska PDO is manufactured in the districts of Nowy Targ and Tatra, in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship and in six municipal areas: Milówka, Wegierska Górka, Rajcza, Ujsoly, Jelesnia and Koszarawa in the Zywiec district, within the Silesian Voivodeship.
There is a large amount of evidence on tradition and importance of the Bryndza Podhalanska PDO in its production region, witnessed by literary references, land owners' ordinances and royal decrees. The first references to this cheese date back to 1527, it was used as payment method or as a tribute component. In literature, numerous descriptions can be found throughout the years on the processing method and information on its price.
The Bryndza Podhalanska PDO should be kept in a cool place and, if cut, in the refrigerator wrapped in suitable paper or aluminium. It can be enjoyed au naturel, as a snack, as appetizer or mixed with sour cream and spices. It is also used as ingredient in gastronomic preparations, served with dry wines or beer.
The product is commercialised as Bryndza Podhalanska PDO. It is sold in special containers of various weights.
The quality of Bryndza Podhalanska PDO is influenced by very rich and varied vegetation, including many endemic species that only grow in its production area, and which constitute the flora of the meadows, the pasturelands and the mountain pastures. This exceptional vegetation affects the quality of the milk used for the production.