What is Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky? Shepherd’s Gift

Ovčí Hrudkový Syr - Salašnícky (SLOVAKIA) - Cheese Origin

Delve into the world of traditional Slovakian cheese with Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky, also known as the Shepherd’s Gift. This artisanal cheese is a testament to the rich pastoral heritage of Slovakia. Crafted from sheep’s milk and aged under meticulous care in shepherd’s huts, each lump of this cheese carries the essence of the region’s lush pastures. Its distinctive tangy flavor and firm yet elastic texture make it a unique gastronomic experience.

Quick Facts

Country of OriginSlovakia
RegionOriginally in Zázrivá but has extended throughout Slovak territory
STGSince 2016
ClassificationFresh cheese
MilkRaw unpasteurized sheep’s milk
SeasonalitySpring, Summer (April to September)
WeightUp to 11 lb (5 kg)
Fat content10%
TasteFresh, mild, tangy, slightly acidic, light notes of straw, a little sourish
AromaDelicate sheep’s milk smell
PairingPears, pastries
Beverage pairingSweet wine such as Moscato, Riesling, and White Zinfandel
TextureFirm, compact, elastic, pliable
ColorWhite to yellowish, pale yellow (exterior), white with yellow tinges (interior)

What is Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky?

What is Ovčí Hrudkový Syr - Salašnícky?

Nestled in the heart of Slovakia’s pastoral landscapes, you’ll find a cheese that embodies centuries-old traditions and the unique flavors of the region – Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky. This artisanal cheese, made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk, is a testament to Slovakia’s rich dairy heritage. Its tangy flavor, punctuated by light notes of straw and a hint of acidity, paints a vivid picture of the country’s lush pastures.

The production process of Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky is as unique as its flavor. The cheese is hand-shaped into a lump, reflecting the care and attention to detail that goes into every step of its creation. This hands-on approach contributes to its firm yet elastic texture, offering a distinctive mouthfeel that complements its robust flavors.

Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky is not just a cheese, but a symbol of Slovakia’s cultural identity. It holds a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) status, signifying its cultural and traditional value. This recognition underscores the cheese’s importance in preserving the country’s culinary traditions.

Produced in shepherd’s huts, Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky offers a taste of Slovakia’s rural charm. This method of production lends the cheese its characteristic taste, deeply rooted in the region’s terroir. For those seeking a variant with an added layer of complexity, ‘Ovčí salašnícky údený syr’ is a smoked version of the cheese, introducing a smoky nuance to its already intricate flavor profile.

In essence, Ovčí Hrudkový Syr – Salašnícky is more than just a cheese. It’s a culinary journey through Slovakia’s rural landscapes, a taste of its pastoral heritage, and a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving traditional cheese-making methods.

The Manufacturing Process (Method of production)

  1. Sheep’s milk is milked manually via traditional method
  2. Process in traditional shepherds’ huts and/or special rooms
  3. Place the milk inside wooden containers/patera
  4. Heat milk up to 30-32 °C inside the wooden containers
  5. Add microbial liquid rennet
  6. After 30-45 minutes, the curds will form
  7. Curds will then be broken down into lumps ranging from 0.5-1 cm
  8. Hot water is added to remove the whey
  9. Rest for 10 minutes
  10. After which, the lumps are manually pressed and shaped into spheres
  11. Hang to drain for about two hours
  12. Place inside caves or aging chambers for fermentation between 18-22 °C (temperature in caves must not exceed this range)

Salaš Tasting Notes

  1. Texture: Salaš cheese has a firm yet elastic texture, which provides a unique mouthfeel. It is hand-shaped into a lump, further emphasizing its artisanal nature.
  2. Flavor: The cheese boasts a tangy flavor profile, with light notes of straw. There’s also a slight acidity that adds to the complexity of the taste.
  3. Aroma: Salaš carries a mild, earthy aroma that reflects its pastoral origins, providing an olfactory preview of its robust flavors.
  4. Aftertaste: The cheese leaves a lingering savory aftertaste, allowing you to savor its unique flavor long after your last bite.
  5. Pairings: Salaš pairs well with fresh fruits and robust red wines, which complement its tangy flavor and firm texture.
  6. Variations: A smoked version of the cheese, ‘Ovčí salašnícky údený syr’, introduces a smoky nuance to its flavor profile, adding an extra layer of complexity.

What Pairs Well?

Ovčí Hrudkový Syr - Salašnícky Pairing


Food CategorySpecific Foods
FruitsApples, Pears, Grapes, Figs
BreadsBaguette, Sourdough, Rye Bread, Crackers
CharcuterieProsciutto, Salami, Chorizo
Nuts & SeedsAlmonds, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds
Honey & JamsClover Honey, Fig Jam, Apricot Preserves
Pickles & OlivesCornichons, Kalamata Olives, Pickled Onions
CondimentsWhole Grain Mustard, Hot Pepper Jelly
VegetablesRoasted Bell Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes
ChocolateDark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate

Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?


Beverage CategorySpecific Beverages
WineMerlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir
BeerBelgian Ale, Stout, Lager
CiderDry Apple Cider, Pear Cider
SpiritsWhiskey, Brandy, Port
Non-AlcoholicGrape Juice, Apple Juice, Herbal Tea

Also read: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings: The Ultimate Guide

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