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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » August 28, 2015
Regional and Traditional Products
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Ser Koryciński—Korycin Cheese
August 28, 2015   
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Ser koryciński swojski, or rustic-style local cheese from Korycin, is one of Poland’s best-known dairy products. Made in the Korycin district of the eastern Podlasie region, it is registered on the European Union’s list of products with protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI) status.

Korycin cheese, a ripening cheese, is made from raw whole milk. This gives it the special aroma of fresh milk. The cheese is elastic. It has a flattened spherical shape and a corrugated texture on the surface, created by the strainers it is made in. Depending on how long it is left to mature, the cheese can be fresh, matured or ripe. There are also several variations of Korycin cheese depending on what spices and fresh or dried herbs have been added, for example pepper, paprika, basil, lovage, mint, dried mushrooms, garlic or olives.

In the traditional production method, the rennet for making Korycin cheese came from dried, powdered calf stomachs. In the past, the cheese was carried in wooden molds and placed on flail-threshed rye straw in cellars where it ripened for many weeks. These days, ready-made rennet is used instead of powdered stomachs and the ripening time is much shorter. Local legend has it that Korycin residents learned to make cheese from Swiss soldiers who, fighting on Poland’s side during the Polish-Swedish war (1655-1660), took part in battles in Podlasie. Afterwards, wounded soldiers stayed at the Kumiała manor farm near Korycin to recuperate and, the legend goes, some of them might even have remained in Poland for good, sharing the secrets of cheese making with the locals.

Korycin cheese is formed into a flattened ball 30 cm in diameter and weighing 2.5-5 kg, depending on the strainer that was used and on the maturing time. It takes 25 liters of milk to make that amount of cheese. The flavor of Korycin cheese depends both on the herbs and other natural additions used and on the ripening time; it can even depend on the time of year.

The cheese is made in Podlasie province, a farming region traditionally specializing in milk and dairy production. Mainly raw milk was sold in the past, but many farms made butter and cheese for their own needs and for sale. Cheese making was mainly a way of using up all the milk a farm produced and ensuring a varied diet.

Korycin cheese is widely known and sought after, especially in northern and central Poland. In 2005, after a request from the Association of Korycin Cheese Producers, the cheese was added to the Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s list of traditional products.
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