Many of you may well have heard of the famous dairy Sirana Gligora – regardless of whether you’ve travelled to Croatia or not! Based in Kolan on the island of Pag, this family-run company have been making Paski sir (Pag cheese) since 1918 and currently produce no less than four world championship winning cheeses and as well many other highly decorated products as well.
Paski sir is one of the most famous products of the island of Pag, and possibly of the whole of Croatia too – a cheese that is hand made from the richest local milk from sheep that are free to roam on rocky pastures, foraging amongst hardy grasses and wild herbs. We would highly recommend that you try this wonderful and unique cheese if you come across it when visiting Croatia – you won’t be disappointed.
But if you’re visiting Croatia and the north Dalmatian region – including the island of Pag – in particular this summer, you may well like to participate in one of the Cheese Tasting Tours that the Sirana Gligora dairy runs. These tours will teach you more about the history of the cheese and the production processes involved in making it, and well as giving you a prime opportunity to taste the different varieties right where it’s made!
These daily tours start off with an introduction to the heritage of cheese making on the island of Pag, as well as a history of the dairy and the cheese. You’ll then be led by an expert guide through the production rooms of the dairy, before going underground in the maturing caves. These caves house up to 200 tonnes of wall-to-wall cheese that’s at various stages of maturing, with the famous local sheep’s milk cheese sitting side by side with assorted cow, goat and mixed milk cheeses. Part of the caves are set aside as an experimental corner where you can examine mouth-watering prototypes that are awaiting official grading and tasting by affineurs. Whilst here, your guide will fully explain the laborious process and care involved into making each wheel.
After the first part of the tour (which takes around thirty minutes, although this depends upon the size of the group), you’ll then be taken to what must be the most exciting area of Sirana Gligora for many people – the tasting room! Resting on top of the dairy – with fabulous views of the island – you’ll be able to sample the award-winning Gligora cheese, washing it down with some wonderful wine.
Tickets for the tours are available from Sirana Gligora’s two Cheese and Wine shops in Novalja and Kolan on the island of Pag – both of which are well worth a visit in their own right, even if you can’t make a tour. Alternatively, email Sirana Gligora direct on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact them on Facebook or Twitter for advance bookings for the tours – as they can get full up rather quickly! Tours are available in English, Croatian and German.
Do also visit Sirana Gligora’s website to find out more about the dairy, and check out all the latest news on their blog – which also has a more in depth look at the tours they offer. Or, to check out the full list of what they produce, click here: Sirana Gligora Product Brochure.
If you’re not quite able to make it down to the island of Pag for these tours, Sirana Gligora also have Cheese & Wine shops in a number of locations across Croatia – including in Zagreb, Rijeka, Opatija, Pula, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. See this list for full addresses.
But I know I’d love to head to Pag for a tour at Sirana Gligora!