When I think about cheese making, I automatically think about great British cheeses, the famous French fromages and maybe even the run-off-your-plate alpine cheese of my dreams. Few people would think of Lithuania as a great cheese making nation, but the cheesemakers at Dziugas are hoping to change that.
I had a really good chat with the comms team at this year’s International Cheese Awards and Bobbi from Dziugas was only too happy to tell me about this amazing cheese.
How to describe it? I’d call this a cheeseboard cheese- one to savour. It’s available in 12, 18, 24 and 36 months matured. The older it gets the better. Start by thinking about Parmesan and then think again. The 36 month is a real mouthful; three years ageing leaves a dry, almost crumbly cheese which is super umami. The dry mouth feel reminded of when I had some super expensive ham in Florence. That might sound weird but it was something good to do with the fat content and the way it feels on the roof of the mouth. 24 month is a little mellower and has slightly less crystallisation but it is smooth and rich and moorish.
The milk comes from very small herds, Bobbi said that some herds have fewer than ten cows. So they know exactly where the milk is coming from, down to which cow! Oh and due to the massive maturation time, the older varieties are naturally lactose free. I know I said it was a great cheeseboard cheese, but I grated a bit of leftover 36 month on to an M&S lasagne which had four tiny gratings of cheese on top! It melted beautifully and went crunchy and crispy. However, I think the best way to enjoy it is uncooked, in a salad or on a cheeseboard. I drizzle with a touch of olive oil which would nice, and actually I think a touch of honey would work too. The Lithuanian way is to serve with dried fruit and I will be looking for some nice juicy raisins and dried figs next time I serve it.
So now I’ve told you how amazing this cheese is, here’s the thing. Here in the UK you are going to have to head down south to get a fix. You can see a list of stockists here. They are looking for new outlets all of the time, and I would definatly buy it up here if I could. So if anyone with a deli or food hall is reading, give them a shout and get some samples!
This is an up and coming product here in the UK and I think, I hope we will be seeing much more of it. Snap it up when you see it and let Dziugas put Lithuania on your food radar.
Thanks to Dziugas for the samples – I am savouring every mouthful!