Ancient Czech cheese thrives as EU delicacy  



Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 23 November 2012

Last update 23 November 2012 2:26 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Adults love it, but the smell is more than most kids can bear.
Tvaruzky, a stinky low-fat Czech curd cheese has won a coveted EU protected geographical indication (PGI), similar to Italy’s venerable Parmesan or France’s Roquefort cheese.
Its popularity has inspired a novelty Tvaruzky “sweetshop” and even vending machines. Gourmets and average Czechs alike throng to its home in Lostice, a sleepy provincial town about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of the capital Prague. Neighbouring Slovakia is a major export market along with Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland.
Lostice is the only place on Earth where Tvaruzky is made. A factory founded in 1876 has a well-stocked shop, while a nearby cafe offering “Tvaruzky tiramisu” and Tvaruzky with ice-cream is pushing the culinary limits of this pungent honey-and-butter colored treat.
There’s even a Tvaruzky vending machine at a local pub for clients who enjoy it with beer. Miroslav Stefanik from the eastern city of Havirov carries two bags stuffed with Tvaruzky delicacies as he strolls across the town’s sprawling central square.
“I make regular trips to the factory shop. I’ve bought Tvaruzky and other cheese for about 500 koruna (20 euros, $25), for myself and the family,” he says after making a detour of almost 100 kilometers (60 miles) on his way home from a business trip. The AW Lostice factory, whose 140 staff annually churn out up to 2,000 tons of Tvaruzky in an array of shapes and sizes, uses a blend of various types of curd to create this stinky delicacy with a slimy surface.
“The length of the ripening period depends on what you prefer. Some want a curd-like core, while gourmets prefer well-ripened cheese,” says production manager Miroslav Zemanek, adding experts can tell how ripe the cheese is by poking it.
With just one percent fat and less than half the calories of the standard product, Tvaruzky made with skimmed milk is just right for calorie counters, Zemanek says, and insists it’s like eating steak.
“It’s pure protein. Meat eaters might just as well eat Tvaruzky instead,” he says. Tvaruzky’s smelly origins stretch back to the 15th century when farmers started making it to use up extra milk.
It was even a currency in the 17th century, when the going rate for well diggers was “one golden coin and 120 pieces of Tvaruzky for six feet,” according to a historic script on the company’s website.
Then, villages across the region made Tvaruzky, with five major producers surviving until the 1980s. Now, Lostice is the only one left. 
Tvaruzky was awarded its protected geographical indication in 2010.
The European Union’s PGI safeguards traditional, regional products by banning imitators from using their name as a brand. PGI labels assure consumers the product is an original, and protect the interests of local farmers and producers.
But Zemanek complains strict EU regulations on milk purity are wreaking havoc with Tvaruzky’s notorious smell.
“The purer the milk, the purer the curd. The pressure for meeting international standards and boosting hygiene is growing and at the end of the process we find that Tvaruzky is no longer as aromatic as it used to be,” Zemanek said.
He enjoys his Tvaruzky with Czech beer, a popular combo in this nation of beer-drinkers which boasts the world’s highest per capita consumption.
Just round the corner from the central square, Zdenka Postulkova and her husband recently opened a Tvaruzky “sweetshop” selling cakes, pies, rolls and pancakes filled with Tvaruzky cream, some of them sweet.
“We invented the products gradually. Most of them are based on Danish pastry,” she says as a faint smell of Tvaruzky fills the shop that also sells Tvaruzky hotdogs, with Tvaruzky sticks taking the place of the sausage.
Outside, Lostice pensioner Marie Volkova says she prefers Tvaruzky “fried, or with freshly baked bread, fresh butter and beer.”
“Of course, when I go somewhere and say I’m from Lostice, everybody knows,” she adds proudly, in the region’s unmistakable accent.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Timely intervention by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman helped move a Saudi woman, who was declared “brain dead” in the US, to the Kingdom.Hani Matar El-Enzi was quoted as saying by an online publication on Wednesday that his wife, Bas...
RIYADH: The world’s fattest man from Jazan has shed 320 kg in almost three years and a video online showed him taking his first steps with the help of a Zimmer frame, thanks to the role of the Ministry of Health in the weight-loss program.Khaled Mohs...
JEDDAH: The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has questioned the fairness of Saudis being sentenced to death in Iraq.The organization believes the sentences have been issued against the backdrop of “sectarian pressures” and that the regional s...
RIYADH: The $22-billion Riyadh Metro project is going on according to the plan despite the fact that many global projects are faltering.“There are many stalled projects all over the world and not in the Kingdom alone, but the metro project in the Sau...
JEDDAH: Four members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) were stabbed by a youth who was allegedly trying to blackmail a girl in Jeddah. The incident happened on Tuesday night and the four officers, who sus...
RIYADH: A recent report released by the Ministry of Labor revealed that the number of violations registered on the ministry’s electronic program “Together for Monitoring” in the months of December 2015 and January 2016 amounted to 484, of which 157 w...
RIYADH: Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih visited the medical complex in Thuwal, near Jeddah, on Tuesday. The facility was set up by Saudi Aramco, whose chairman is the health minister himself.According to the minister, the complex provides primary hea...
JEDDAH: A number of Shoura Council members have voiced objections to some imams who express their personal opinions during Friday sermons.The members asked the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to supervise the sermons to make sure they were written by spe...
MADINAH: Street vendors near the Prophet’s Mosque pose a risk to the country’s reputation and economy besides blocking the way of service cars, Red Crescent and Civil Defense vehicles, an expert has said.Ninety-eight percent of these street merchants...
RIYADH: Appropriate action has been taken against the Haia members who were involved in beating up a girl opposite the Nakheel shopping mall here recently, but the girl was also at fault, a Haia official has clarified.“A probe has revealed that the g...
I am from the east of France but moved to Saudi Arabia from Paris in 1990. I worked for a princess as a French language tutor. I was young and single. I thought it was very exotic and mysterious. I lived in a palace. I left Saudi Arabia in 1992 and c...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) held a symposium on Kashmir and the obligation of Muslim world toward Kashmiris.It was presided by Ali Al-Ghamdi, a former Saudi diplomat. Other guests and speakers at the event were Shahid Nayeem, pres...
DAMMAM: A total of 627 kidney transplant surgeries were performed in the Kingdom last year, bringing the number of kidney transplants, performed since the beginning of the organ donation program, to 9,000 surgeries, said Dr. Faisal Shaheen, director...
ABHA: Saudi women spend more on cosmetics compared to women in the West, the Arab world and even in the Gulf, economic studies show.Recent statistics issued by the Saudi Customs suggest the amount of imported cosmetics in the past year exceeded SR2.3...
RIYADH: A study is under way to provide health insurance to Umrah pilgrims and domestic workers and certain articles of the health regulations needs to be amended, an official has said.According to local media, the statement was made by Mohammed bin...

Stay Connected

Facebook