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22.11.2010 14:42:10 Source: Actualno http://news.myvidin.com/about-52122.html
A proto-type of the famous Italian chees Parmesan is made in the Rhodope Mountains. This was revealed during a journalist tour in the region.
“Rodopi cheese is not inferior in taste, spiciness and hardness to Parmesan, but unfortunately is uknown to the the world, – says Milkana Yordanova, Chairman of the cooperative “Rhodopa Milk” in Smilian.
The cheese that local people refer to as “male cheese” in the past used to be made by sheep milk, as sheep breeding in the region was well developed. Today the product is made by high-fat cow milk only in high mountains dairies.
Milk in the Rhodope Mountains is very strong and high-fat, and that allows the production of this specific type of cheese, explains Mrs Yordanova.
We do not process any other components like dry powder milk extract or condensed milk. We work only with mountain milk and only in the region of Smilyan, Arda and Mogilitsa”, she added.
Besides “Bulgarian Parmesan” and traditional kashkaval, Rhodopa Milk Dairy produces also western type of cheeses.
Our dairy was established with the support of the Swiss government project. We won with the idea to offer high quality cheeses for Bulgarian market, tells Milkana. It is one of total fourteen projects of the Swiss programme in Eastern Europe.
We started producing two types of Swiss cheeses – Gruer and Tilzit, and in consequence – of Emental, Dutch Gauda, Italian Parmesan and the traditional Bulgarian Rhodopi cheese. We have our own product called “Gourbet” that resembles very much the Italian Scamorza cheese (steamed cheese). Gourbet technology is between that of making kashkaval, scamorza and mozzarella, explains Mrs Yordanova.
Our produce is a boutique one and is offered only in larger food store chains in the country (in Sofia – Piccadili and Hit chains, in Plovdiv – in Laxi and Sani chans
Besides production of dairy products Rhodopa Milk cooperative develops also alternative tourism.
The Milky Kingdom of Milkana is open all the year round. The guest house can accommodate up to 18 persons.
At the dairy demonstrations of making a beaten cheese, extracting butter from yogurt are done. Guests can taste the full range of products made by the dairy as well as the traditional for the area Fanta Mou. This is how kids call the Rhodope drink “barkanitsa”. The drink is made from beaten yogurt, after extracting the butter out of it. It has a sour taste and after fermentation can substitute any pop-up drink.
Within a project for rural tourism development Rhodopa Milk Dairy is a promotion point for guest houses in the thrre villages in Upper Arda river valley – Arda, Mogilitsa and Smilyan, with a total capacity of 450 beds. They have developed an own reservation system – when a guest house cannot accommodate all guests requested booking, tourists are redirected to an alternative accommodation place.
12 mountain hiking trails are well marked in the locality. Qualified mountain guides are offered, and by Milkana’s word – lately guided services are of growing demand. Completing hiking trails can vary between 2hrs to 12 hours passages
Horse riding, sports fishing and even riverside sunbathing is offered in the locality.
“There is no crisis in tourism in the area of Upper Arda river valay (Smilyan, Mogilitsa, Arda)”, says Milkana Yordanova adamantly.
*The present article is prepared within project “Communication campaign for encouragement of domestic tourism in the Republic of Bulgaria”, supported by Regional Development Operational Programme.