Paski Sir (Pag Island Cheese)
Though little known outside the country, Paški Sir is one of Croatia’s most beloved cheeses. It is made exclusively on the tiny island of Pag with milk from the indigenous breed of sheep known as the Paška Ovca. The producer Paška Sirana collects milk from 2500 of these low-yielding sheep (1/2 L per day), which feed on the salty grasses scattered throughout the rocky, windswept land. It takes milk from about 10-12 sheep in order to make 1 wheel. Though the cheese can be found in both young and aged forms, we prefer it when it’s aged 1 year. Full flavored, its crystalline paste develops notes that are pleasantly saline, sheepy, and butterscotchy without becoming too dry. Though Croatians like to serve this cheese simply drizzled with good olive oil, it can also be shaved over salads and eaten with cured meats. Ideal with a Croatian red (Pelješac), medium to full-bodied reds, or mineral whites. Paški Sir received a Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) in 2019, officially recognizing the great importance of the cheese and the place in which it is made.