Shepherd’s Cheese Polenta | Local Cooking in Romania
Weare back again at the season of grazing, and what person is there who does not wish to tickle their taste buds with a portion of shepherd’s cheese polenta (balmoș) made from a delicious and unique artisan cheese, known for its rich and distinct flavours resulting from the unique combination of grass-fed animals and ancient cheese recipes.
This dish is one of the most famous of the national dishes of Romania, and its origin is historical. It is a shepherd’s dish, and in every recipe for cooking it, we are told to use whole ingredients, that are high in fats.
Here, at Petru Lazarean’s sheepfold, all their ingredients are locally made, starting with the artisan cheese recipes that we had seen being made from creamy rich sheep’s milk and ending with their own stone ground cornmeal, a self-sustaining homestead off the beaten track in Bucovina, Romania, where guests are warmly welcomed.
It is a place where anyone feels more than welcome to retreat and step back in time. The pictures simply do not do it justice. In the cheese hut, we were served a few good slices of tasty cheese, whey cheese, and freshly made curds and whey. In the meantime, the chief shepherd Musuleac Aurel, who was very industrious, set a fire on the stone floor to make the cheese polenta.
On the fire he placed a cauldron with milk cream and salt to taste, stirring continuously once it started to boil.
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