Discovering Feta cheese from Romania cheese

Discovering the Uniqueness of Romanian Feta Cheese

One of the cheeses that deserves to be highlighted due to its delightful taste and interesting history is Feta cheese, particularly the version made in Romania. While Feta originated in Greece, each country and even regions within countries have adapted and developed their own versions of this versatile cheese, each with distinct characteristics. Romanian Feta cheese, known locally as ‘telemea’, has forged its own identity in the world of cheesemaking, offering a unique blend of smoothness and tanginess that sets it apart from its counterparts.

Unlike the original Greek Feta, which is strictly made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, Romanian Feta cheese can be made from sheep, goat, cow, or a combination of these. The choice of milk directly influences the final texture and taste of the cheese, allowing for a wonderful variety within the Romanian Feta family itself. Romanian Feta cheese is typically milder and creamier than other types of Feta cheeses. It has a delicately balanced briny taste combined with a distinct milkiness that has endeared it to cheese lovers worldwide.

  • The technique used to produce Romanian Feta cheese also contributes to its unique qualities. It is traditionally made by heating the milk, adding rennet for coagulation, then cutting and pressing the curds. The cheese curds are then salted and left to mature in brine-filled wooden barrels for at least a month. This ageing process in an environment saturated in natural moulds helps develop the cheese’s characteristic creamy texture and tangy, salty taste.

These unique traits make Romanian Feta cheese perfect to be savoured on its own or as part of a cheese platter, but also versatile enough to be used in a wide variety of culinary applications. Its subtle creaminess allows it to meld seamlessly into salads and pastries, and its milder flavour makes it an excellent base for dishes wherein it can absorb other strong flavours like garlic, lemon, or herbs. Whether you’re a cheese newbie or a seasoned gourmand, Romanian Feta Cheese undoubtedly deserves a spot on your to-try list.

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Decoding the Characteristics of Quality Romanian Feta Cheese

Savoring the delight that is Romanian Feta Cheese revolves around recognizing its distinctive attributes and appreciating its quality properties. Gaining prominence due to its crumbly texture and tangy flavor, this cheese variety forms an exquisite part of gastronomy in Romania. Yet, identifying a quality Romanian Feta Cheese involves more than just guessing based on these parameters. It is an art that demands knowledge about its origin, production process, and unique characteristics.

Regarded as the ‘Bride of the Table’ in Romanian folklore, a standout feature of the authentic Romanian Feta Cheese is its guaranteed origin in the Carpathian region of Romania. The Carpathian’s natural grasslands richness significantly contributes to the high-quality milk used in the cheese and stands as a direct influence on its unique flavor profile. This remarkable cheese holds a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status since 2007, ensuring that only Fetas made according to the specific Romanian traditional methods can be labeled as ‘Romanian Feta’.

  • Appearance: A quality Romanian Feta Cheese possesses a white color, not too glossy or dull. It’s cut into blocks, showing a remarkable lack of eyes (holes).
  • Texture: The cheese should be firm to the touch and must not crumble when picked up. Instead, it should break smoothly and evenly, presenting a slightly grainy texture.
  • Taste: Authentic Romanian Feta carries a distinct salty and tangy flavor. However, it’s not overpowering, with a perfect balance, it gives a milky and slightly nutty aftertaste.

Understanding these factors can tremendously enhance your feta-tasting experience and help you recognize the quality attributes of Romanian Feta Cheese. The journey from the Carpathian pastures to your table adds an extra layer of appreciation for this well-loved cheese variety.

The Intriguing Culinary World of Romanian Feta Cheese

Made from sheep or goat milk, or a combination of both, Romanian Feta cheese is a product of a rich and centuries-old culinary tradition. Very similar to its Greek and Bulgarian counterparts, Romanian Feta has an earthy, tangy flavor that can range from mild to sharp, and a crumbly texture that simultaneously melts in your mouth. One unique aspect, however, is the provenance of milk. Romanian Feta cheese often comes from animals grazed on the high-altitude pastures of the Carpathian Mountains, which imparts a distinctive, robust flavor to the cheese.

The production of Romanian Feta cheese employs traditional cheese-making methods passed down through generations. Raw sheep or goat milk is naturally fermented, then inoculated with lactic acid bacteria (including Lactococcus lactis and Lactobacillus casei) and rennet, which cause the milk to coagulate. The mixture is then drained and pressed, resulting in firm blocks of cheese which are soaked in brine. This brining process not only adds flavor and preserves the cheese, but also contributes to Romanian Feta’s signature crumbly yet creamy texture.

The varieties of Romanian Feta cheese are truly a cheese lover’s delight. The two most popular types include ‘Branza de Burduf’ and ‘Branza de Coșuleț’. The often sought-after Branza de Burduf is crafted by cutting feta into small cubes and then placing it in a sheep’s stomach or in a sheepskin, where it ages to produce a strong, tangy, slightly sour flavor. On the other hand, Branza de Coșuleț, also known as ‘bag cheese’, is aged in a prickly pine bark and presents a creamy, aromatic, and slightly bitter tang – a much-loved accompaniment to traditional Romanian polenta.

With a well-rounded flavor profile, Romanian Feta cheese is ideal for use in a wide variety of dishes, from appetizers and salads to baked goods and desserts. Whether trying it for the first time or rediscovering its unique traits, the Romanian Feta offers not only a taste of authentic Romanian cuisine, but also a fascinating insight into traditional cheese-making practices.

Facts and figures

  • Feta cheese is traditionally a product of Greece, not Romania.
  • Real Feta cheese should be made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, according to Greek law.
  • Feta cheese is usually cured in brine, not just water and salt.
  • Typically, Feta cheese is aged for around 3 to 6 months, but it varies depending on the preference.
  • The European Union has granted Feta cheese protected designation of origin status, but only if it is made in particular areas of Greece.
  • Despite its renowned status, Romania has its own variety of white, brined cheese called Telemea, which could be considered their own 'Feta'.
  • Many countries produce their own versions of 'Feta' cheese, but these are technically not considered true Feta unless they come from Greece.

Unveiling the True Character of Romanian Feta Cheese

When it comes to artisan cheese, one might think of France, Italy, or Switzerland as the ideal source. Yet, tucked away in the bucolic, rolling countryside of Eastern Europe, Romania has built an impressive reputation for its own delicious and distinctive contribution to the world—Romanian Feta Cheese. A chunk of Romanian Feta offers an invigorating blend of tangy and creamy flavors, with just the right salt level that sets it apart from its Mediterranean counterparts.

In Romania, Feta is not just any regular cheese but rather a symbol of the country’s rich heritage and craftmanship. The production process of Romanian Feta Cheese is deeply embedded in the regional traditions and techniques. This exquisite cheese is made primarily in the Transylvanian Alps, where the cool and damp climate provides an optimal environment for cheese maturing. Romanian Feta Cheese is traditionally made from sheep’s milk although nowadays, mix with cow’s milk is also popular for a milder taste. The cheese goes through several stages of ageing, which could last up to three months, giving it a unique texture and complexity of flavor.

The quality of Romanian Feta Cheese, like other fine cheeses, stems not only from the production method but also from the quality of the milk used. In Romania, herds of sheep graze freely on the lush pastures enriched by diverse mountainous flora, offering a variety of natural, nutritious fodder. This, combined with the traditional cheese-making techniques, infuse the Romanian Feta with a subtle, herbaceous undertone, a testament to the pristine, unpolluted Romanian landscapes.

  • The Transylvanian Alps in Romania, where this Feta is made, provide optimal conditions for cheese ageing.
  • The sheep graze freely on rich, diverse pastures, giving the milk (and thus the cheese) a herbaceous undertone.
  • The traditional processes and aging of the cheese contribute to its unique flavor.

Taking a bite of Romanian Feta Cheese is not just savoring a delicious morsel, but experiencing a rich, traditional Romanian culinary story, rooted in the country’s vibrant landscapes and age-old cheese-making craftsmanship.

Discovering the Subtle Nuances of Romanian Feta Cheese

Romanian Feta Cheese, a delight revered by cheese aficionados worldwide, is a white brined curd cheese traditionally crafted in Romania. The cheese, also known as “Telemea” in Romania, is known for its tangy, sharp taste profile with a slightly creamy, crumbly texture. Made typically from sheep or cow’s milk, this cheese boasts a unique savor that distinguishes it in the world of dairy delights.

So, how is this eastern European treasure best savored? The versatility of Romanian Feta Cheese makes it a versatile staple in various dishes – enriching their flavors without overshadowing other elements. Here are some top recommendations:

  • In Salads: Romanian Feta plays a delightful role in fresh salads. Its tangy flavor balances the freshness of greens and the sweetness of fruits, culminating in a gastronomic feast. A popular choice is the Romanian Spring Salad, boasting romaine lettuce, radishes, spring onions, and copious chunks of feta.
  • Grilled or Baked: While it’s soft, Romanian Feta can be grilled or baked due to its high melting point. Use it to top flatbread pizzas, add it in baked pasta, or even on a roasted vegetable tart. The heat brings out a more profound, striking flavor.
  • Spreads and Dips: Blend the smooth, creamy Romanian Feta with garlic, dill, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to make a deliciously tangy, spicy spread. Pair it with warm pita bread or splattered on a slice of fresh, crusty baguette.

Whether you’re enjoying it crumbled over a vibrant salad, melted over a crisp flatbread, or whipped into a luscious dip, the versatility of Romanian Feta Cheese is only limited by your culinary imagination. This cheese imparts not just flavor in every dish, but also fascinating amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and B. The nuance and complexity that Romanian Feta Cheese brings to the table make it a delightful element in every food lover’s pantry.

Preserving the Authentic Flavor: Proper Storage for Romanian Feta Cheese

One of the richest yet most delicate cheese varieties that culinary enthusiasts crave for is the Feta Cheese from Romania. Also known as “telemea”, this type of cheese carries a traditional, slightly tangy flavor, perfectly balanced with a hint of creaminess. Originating from Romania’s picturesque countryside, this cheese has gained international recognition for its versatility in various recipes and its intrinsic, irresistible flavor. However, topping its flavorful character is proper storage, a paramount aspect to retain its freshness and aromatic profile.

Classically made from sheep’s milk, Romanian Feta cheese has a unique texture slightly crumbly yet creamy when tasted. Its inherent properties make it highly perishable hence, necessitating appropriate storage methods. Refrigeration is an ideal way to store this cheese as feta cheeses are brined, and therefore best kept in conditions mimicking their original, briny storage environments. Here are a few steps to ensure the longevity and quality of your Romanian Feta Cheese:

  • First, always keep your feta cheese submerged in brine. The brine serves a dual purpose: it helps the cheese retain its creamy texture, and it also prevents the growth of bacteria that could render the cheese inedible.
  • Always store your feta cheese in the refrigerator, preferably at temperatures between 1°C and 4°C. At this temperature, it can remain fresh for up to four weeks.
  • For long-term storage, you might consider freezing your feta cheese. While this can affect the texture slightly, making it a bit more crumbly, it won’t negatively impact the flavor. Frozen feta can last up to three months.

In conclusion, aptly storing Romanian Feta Cheese can significantly extend its freshness, allowing cheese lovers to enjoy its unique, delightful flavor in various dishes. Another aspect to note is to always use clean utensils to handle the cheese to prevent contamination. Remembering this and the above storage guidelines, any cheese enthusiasts can enjoy the features of their Romanian Feta Cheese at any preferred time.

Pairing Feta Cheese from Romania with Exceptional Wines

When it comes to the world of cheese, Feta from Romania has been turning heads in the gourmet food scene. Romania’s unique climate and rich terroir make it an ideal locale for producing this fine cheese, rendering a Feta that is remarkably creamy and subtly tangy, with a pleasing saltiness that can surprisingly reveal gentle herbaceous notes. Also, it goes perfectly with a selection of exquisite wines, thanks to its sturdy body and balanced flavor profile.

Among wine-lovers, Sauvignon Blanc is often the top choice when enjoying Feta cheese. Its high acidity level and fruity and herbaceous flavor profiles beautifully complement the salty character of Romanian Feta. Especially, a Romanian Sauvignon Blanc, from regions like Dealu Mare, brings the local wine-cheese matching experience to new heights. The wine’s intense aromas of ripe gooseberries, fresh-cut grass, and hints of limes, elegantly cut through the rich creaminess of the cheese, managing to uplift the overall tasting experience.

Pinot Gris is another excellent match to Romanian Feta. Its medium-bodied nature, ripe pear, apple and melon flavors with a whisper of almond and spicy notes provide a lovely counterpoint to the cheese’s tangy undertones. A Romanian Pinot Gris, especially from Bohotin vineyards in the Iasi county, will not disappoint with its faintly honeyed body and a lingering taste of quince that makes it an exceptional accompaniment for the Feta.

  • Sauvignon Blanc – its high acidity and herbal, citrusy notes bring out the salty, herbaceous aspects of Romanian Feta.
  • Pinot Gris – with its medium body, fruit tones and hint of almonds it provides a beautiful contrast to Feta’s tangy profile.

Moreover, if one wants to experiment with red wines, Romanian Fetească Neagră, with its soft tannins, medium-body and notes of sour cherries, plums and blackberries can surprisingly hold well against the robust flavor of Feta. So, next time you are planning a cheese and wine soirée do not forget to include Feta from Romania and one of these excellent wines, the combination is intriguing and the taste unforgettable.

About the author: Dr. Wolfgang Sender is a cheese lover from Germany. Having lived abroad for many years he contributes to this site with passion.

Fabulous Romanian Feta – Discover the Perfect Pairings

Feta cheese, a famed Greek delicacy, has an intriguing Romanian variant that is taking the cheese world by storm. Produced in different regions of Romania, this Feta variety boasts a unique flavor profile that combines tanginess and earthiness, as well as a slightly crumbly yet creamy texture. The Romanian Feta, also known as Branza de Burduf, is traditionally made with 100% sheep’s milk, resulting in a cheese that offers a remarkable depth of flavor, making it a highly versatile component for a variety of dishes. It also holds Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in Romania, emphasizing its cultural and geographical significance.

In terms of culinary pairings, this vibrant cheese is intrinsically versatile. However, a few key foods truly help the cheese to shine in all its glory. Here are some top-notch food pairings for Romanian Feta:

  • Olives: The mild saltiness and unique savoriness of green or black olives pair attractively with the tangy Romanian Feta, balancing out its robust flavor.
  • Fruits: The sweetness of fruits like figs, pears or berries can counteract the saltiness of the cheese, creating a delightful contrast. Grapes, with their juicy sweetness and bite-sized convenience, also make an excellent companion.
  • Nuts: Nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pine nuts can add an intriguing textural contrast and a subtle earthiness to the cheese, enhancing its inherently deep and rich flavor.
  • Meats: Pairing Romanian Feta with various cured or smoked meats (salami, ham, prosciutto) can create an explosion of flavor, marrying the tanginess of the cheese with the savory umami notes of the meat.
  • Wine: Romanian Feta pairs splendidly with a dry sparkling wine like Brut, or a medium-bodied white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier. The acidity and fruity notes in the wine can perfectly balance the tanginess of the cheese.

Delight in the taste of Romanian Feta; this world-class cheese that is made to impress not only cheese enthusiasts but also true food lovers who are always on the quest for new and exciting flavors to explore. Unearth remarkable culinary experiences by pairing this distinctive cheese with the above-mentioned foods. The symphony of flavors awaiting you is nothing short of extraordinary.

A Journey Through History: Delving into the Roots of Romanian Feta Cheese

The story of Feta cheese in Romania is embedded in the country’s culinary tradition and historical events. It has journeyed through centuries, touched by distinctive cultural influences and shifting economies, leaving us with a unique dairy product that sits at heart of Romanian cuisine.

Feta cheese, known as “Telemea” in Romania, is a white cheese traditionally made from sheep’s milk. However, variations made from cow’s milk or a blend of both sheep’s and cow’s milk also exist widely. Its origin can be traced back to ancient times, predating the country’s Roman conquer and offering an insightful glance into Romania’s pastoral heritage. It was plenty during the Middle Ages, mentioned in various chronicles as an important part of the peasants’ diet and regularly used in commodity trade of the era.

  • The recipe for this cheese has been passed down through generations. It involves curdling the milk with rennet, a complex of enzymes that induce curdling, and leaving it to mature in brine. The maturity period varies from a few days to a few weeks, depending on desired taste and texture. This process gives Romanian Feta a distinct saltiness and a tangy flavor, with a crumbly yet creamy texture.

In recent years, Romanian Feta cheese has gained recognition beyond its national borders. The European Union registered it as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in 2008, placing it alongside other iconic European cheese such as Roquefort and Parmigiano-Reggiano. This means that only Feta made according to the traditional methods in specific regions of Romania can be sold under the name ‘Telemea’. It’s an acknowledgement of the cheese’s quality, character, and the significant role it plays in the cultural and gastronomic heritage of Romania. This registration has encouraged wider consumption of this authentic product; a creamy, tangy treasure wrapped in centuries of Romanian history.

Delve into the Rich Flavors of Feta-like Romanian Cheeses

Championed as one of Greece’s most significant culinary contributions, the Feta cheese has found its way to numerous dining tables around the world. However, not many cheese enthusiasts realize that similar, if not increasingly exotic, Feta-like cheeses are being produced in the superlative-dotted highlands and plains of Romania. Romanian cheesemakers have been transforming the country’s ample milk resources into aromatic cheese for centuries, resulting in idyllic variants fused with the palpable essence of Romanian pasture and culture.

Two outstanding Romanian cheeses sharing the salty-tangy notes of Feta are Branza de Burduf and Telemea. Branza de Burduf, a Balkan cheese, is an epitome of artisanal craftwork. Meticulously made from sheep’s milk, the cheese is pressed, salted, then hand-mixed and left to age in traditional pine bark cases, birthing an experience so unique it was even granted a DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin) status. With its slightly crumbly texture, sharp taste, and powerful aroma, Branza de Burduf is a distinctive Eastern European bedfellow to Feta.

Another Romanian gem is Telemea, a soft-brined cheese that varies from creamy soft to semi-hard, depending on its aging period. Known as one of the most common Romanian cheeses, Telemea is cherished for its versatility, effortlessly straddling the fence between being a table cheese or a complement to wines. Traditionally made from sheep’s milk, it can also be produced from cow, goat, or buffalo milk—presenting a variety of gustatory profiles, each translation echoing the milk source’s distinct pasture diet and charm.

Both of these Romanian titans offer an enthralling encounter to Feta’s hallmark tang and salt-sprinkled creaminess. Their production represents a deep-rooted tradition and honors the transcendent ability of good cheese to capture the character of its origin—each bite enveloping the essence of pristine Romanian pastures and the passion of its cheesemakers.

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