We have a particular soft sheep cheese in Slovakia, called bryndza. It’s a traditional product, known not only in Slovakia but also in other Eastern European countries. Each country has a secret recipe for making the cheese, and also region specific ways to use it.
In Slovakia, bryndza is mostly used in our national specialty, dumplings with bryndza. We also make bryndza spread, and soup. Bryndza is one of the things I miss from Slovak cuisine. I love spread made from bryndza because it has a specific taste, it brings out the childhood memories, and it’s very much bound to my home land.
There’s no shop in Belgium selling Slovak products, so the only way for me to have bryndza is to go to Bratislava or bring a tiny 100 grams package. As strange as it sounds, soft cheese is also considered a ‘liquid’ by the airlines, thus the limit.
Recently, something great happened. When I was looking for a goat cheese in the dairy product section of a shop nearby, I found a soft sheep cheese, right next to the goat one. I know, I had to give it a try.
Truth to be told, it’s not bryndza and it doesn’t taste or smell like bryndza. But it couldn’t since Slovak bryndza is registered in EU’s Register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications and thus produced only in Slovakia. Nevertheless, I still liked the cheese and made the sheep cheese spread as I would with bryndza. It doesn’t have the tang of bryndza, but it’s an acceptable substitute until our next trip to Bratislava.
If a soft sheep cheese isn’t available in your store, buy goat cheese. Both have slightly stronger and more specific taste than cow cheese, and that’s the goal in this recipe.
Sheep Cheese Spread
Servings: 3 – 4
- 150 grams soft sheep cheese
- 40 grams butter (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- Mix all the ingredients with a hand-held mixer.
- Serve the spread chilled, on a slice of bread. You can keep the spread in the fridge in a covered bowl or an airtight container for a few days.
Do you have a region-specific ingredient or dish that’s hard to get in a place where you currently live? What is it? Share in the comments below; I cannot wait to find out!