Zázrivský Korbácik PGI is a steamed lump cheese product made with raw or pasteurised cow's milk.
The raw or pasteurised cow's milk comes from the mountain-raised Pinzgau cow breed. During processing thermoresistant lactic acid microflora, of the genera Lactococcus, Streptococcus and Lactobacillus, are added to the milk. The fermented natural cheese is then cut into smallish pieces which are grated and steamed in water with a temperature 70-95 °C; the cheese is stirred until it forms a compact elastic mass (parenina). This is then kneaded to form a supple, smooth- textured cheese mass; the strands (vojky), between 2-10 mm thick, are shaped by hand and then dropped immediately into cold water for approximately 2-10 minutes, in this way maintaining the form. The cooled strands are wound onto a reel and then tied; they are salted by dipping them in a saturated salt solution for a period of time that depends on the thickness and acidity of the strands. The strands are then part-dried by being hung on a wooden or rustproof pole in order to get rid of excess salty water. Finally, at least two strands are folded in half and plaited by hand into the shape of a little whip along two-thirds of their length. If the cheese is smoked, hardwood cold smoke is used, with a temperature of approximately 30 °C, until it takes on a golden-yellow colour.
Appearance and Flavour
Zázrivský Korbácik PGI is plaited into the shape of a little whip between 10 and 50 cm long, with an elastic and stringy texture. If the cheese is smoked it has a golden-yellow colour, a smoky aroma and a slightly milder flavour. The unsmoked type is white to cream in colour and has a more delicate, milky and mildly acidulous taste.
Zázrivský Korbácik PGI is produced in the mountain municipality of Zázrivá, which is part of the Dolný Kubín district in the region of Zilina.
In the past the production and sale of Zázrivský Korbácik was the only source of income for the local sheep and cow breeders. It is said that the domestic production of korbáciky in Zázrivá has been going on since the second half of the XIX century, although written documents about the product came much later; many of these were texts describing the qualitative requisites of the cheese and its production method.
Zázrivský Korbácik PGI is a perishable product and should be kept in the refrigerator, in its original packaging, in order to maintain its quality. The cheese can be eaten on its own as a snack or as part of a complete meal. It is also excellent served with fresh bread and a glass of wine.
The product is marketed as Zázrivský Korbácik PGI; it can be smoked or unsmoked. It is sold in multipacks wrapped in food-quality film: they contain from 5-10 plaits, but there is a larger pack, known as zväzok (bouquet), which can contain up to 50 plaits.
During the processing stage Zázrivský Korbácik PGI cheese is steamed in hot water, allowing the cheese to become elastic and flexible, making it possible for the strands to be plaited together into the characteristic shape of a little whip.