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Article

The Mohant Cheese

14. 8. 2014

Specifications

Keywords

Sep

Food and Beverages, Meal preparation

Geographical area

Sep

Slovenia

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The Mohant cheese is a traditional dairy product made in villages and on dairy mountain farms in Bohinj and its vicinity. Its distinctive, slightly tangy and bitter taste and a strong smell make it different from other cheeses produced in Slovenia.

Traditionally made in remote places far from the main roads or milk collecting locations, the Mohant was made from the surplus milk which the local farmers could not sell. The manufacturing process is as follows. When the milk is heated, the cheese maker adds rennet. After twenty or forty minutes, the milk curdles. The curd is then roughly cut, stirred, and strained through a cloth or a sieve. After the whey has been drained, the curd is mixed with salt and placed in containers. Until the 1980s, the cheese had been shaped into loaves, weighing two kilograms each, which were placed in wooden containers and left to age. Later on, many farmers started to place layer upon layer of cheese in plastic containers. The cheese is then pressed, covered with a linen cloth and with a wooden lid, and additionally weighted. Then it is left to ripen at 20˚C for a period from four to six weeks, with excessive whey constantly drained. During this period, the cheese acquires its typical sharp, pungent flavor, light-yellow color, and plastic texture. Today, production of the Mohant cheese is spread over approx. fifteen farms within the Bohinj municipality. Preservation of this cheese-making heritage and transmission of knowledge crucial for the production of Mohant are both coordinated by Cheese-making Society Bohinj, which also arranged the protection of Mohant in European Union under the mark of Protected Geographical Indication. The cheese is made in some organised cheese dairies, e.g. in Brod, in summer mohant is produced in the mountains, e.g. in Zajamnik and Krstenica, and during the winter on the farms in Bohinj.

 
Locality Bohinj and its vicinity Slovenia
Time All year
History (cyclicality) Since the 19th century
Organizer Local people
Realisation team Local people
Target group Not identified (but targeting locals and tourists)
Traditional culture elements Traditional dish, old kind of the cheese production, dairy farms
Ethnographic criterion Production of fresh cheese is a traditional form of cheese-making in Slovenia. Because of the special process of ripening it undergoes, the Mohant cheese has a truly unique and characteristic flavour.
Environmental criterion Cheese-making represented an important economic activity in Bohinj area and the broader Alpine region throughout centuries. Due to the geographic features of this area Alpine farming was one of the main economic occupations of the region.
Cultural-historical criterion The Mohant cheese is a traditional dairy product made in villages and in dairy mountain farms in Bohinj and its vicinity for more than a century. In the last two decades, the Mohant cheese has become a characteristic feature of the Bohinj area.
Aesthetic criterion The Mohant cheese acquires its typical sharp, pungent flavor, light-yellow color, and plastic texture.
Ethical criterion Individuals from Bohinj and the Cheese-making Society Bohinj take care of preserving the recipe and the knowledge necessary for the production of Mohant cheese and pay attention to the correct use of its name. However, due to the increasing (mainly tourist) interest in the Mohant cheese, new cheeses with the same name have been put on the market even though they are not produced according to the original recipe.
Psychological criterion The Cheese-making Society Bohinj makes efforts to pass the knowledge to younger generations of cheese makers and to support local identity. The Mohant cheese represents a local speciality that contributes to the development and growth of tourist industry and farming in the region as well as to local identity.

Photos by © Maja Godina Golija

 

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