A giant oscypek was created during Oscypek Fest in Zywiec. This record-breaking cheese made of sheep milk is 40 centimeters long and 24 centimeters in diameter and weighs more than 11.5 kilograms. Highlanders from Zywiec who produced the cheese hope it will be included in “The Guinness Book of Records.”
Creation of the cheese took many hours. The process was viewed by local inhabitants and tourists and was the highlight of the two-day Oscypek Fest 2007. The giant oscypek will be soaked in brine and smoked for quite a long time. When it is ready, it will be auctioned for charity.
The purpose of the festival is to promote the region and its culinary heritage. Oscypek is one of the specialties of the Polish highlands and owes its quality and great properties to its place of origin. Traditional recipes make the delicacy particularly tasty and desirable.
The cheese is characterized by a specific taste, consistency and color. An original oscypek is made from sheep milk according to a traditional highland recipe. It is kneaded at a proper temperature, soaked in brine and then cured. Oscypek has a distinctive salty flavor, a slightly creamy color and less than 60 percent fat.
Admirers of the cheese say it is delicious without any spices and makes a good ingredient in other dishes. It can be fried or grilled, and also tastes excellent when wrapped in bacon. However, traditional oscypek and “baca” – a man who produces oscypek – are in danger of disappearing. Young people are not as interested in keeping the tradition alive.
“It was one of the main reasons that we have organized Oscypek Fest,” Pawel Pieczarka, the host of the Oscypek Fest, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “We want to preserve the tradition and the technology of oscypek production. The festival is supposed to encourage young people to care about regional customs.”
The festival is important for another reason. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has applied to the EU to designate oscypek as a protected regional product. Slovaks had protested the designation because oscypek is also produced in Slovakia. However, their product allows cow milk content. The two sides have now resolved the issue, and the process of registering oscypek as a Polish regional product with a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) certificate has begun. The Oscypek Fest was organized with the support of the Highlands Brands Coalition, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Museum of Zywiec Brewery.