Traditional Livno Cheese
Cheeses and Dairy Products - Bosnia and Herzegovina
Livno cheese is one of the best-known cheeses in the territory of former Yugoslavia. Livno cheese is produced in Livno and in surrounding areas such as Kupres, Glamoč and Tomislavgrad.
Production of Livno cheese goes back to Austro-Hungarian period, more exactly to 1886 when Austro-Hungarian administrators introduced the production of this cheese bringing Swiss cheese producers to train chosen local cheese producers. The method of production was the same as for the production of Gruyere cheese. This initiative was followed by opening of a dairy and a complex of stables in the territory of the mountain Cincar.
Its flavour is full and pleasant and, when matured, the taste is slightly piquant. It is produced in small quantities since its production is geographically limited. The ratio of sheep's milk and cow's milk used for the production is 80:20. Demand for this cheese is very high and the producers often cannot meet consumers' demand. This is particularly evident during Christmas time when everyone wants it at the table.
Its uniqueness is due to the combination of factors such as climate conditions, high quality of the mountain grass and Pramenka's (autochthonous breed of sheep) milk. In the event of a shortage of sheep's milk the cheese can also be made from cow's milk but this variation must be indicated on the label. The most important market for Livno cheese is Dalmatia where every respectable restaurant has it on its menu. But it is also well known in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, thanks to many emigrants who brought it to these countries.
Standard Livno cheese, made from unpasteurized milk, is in a shape of a cylinder, 10 to 12cm high, weighing between 2 and 3kg. Its colour ranges from white to pale yellow and its maturing lasts from 6 to 8 months.
By the low in Bosnia and Herzegovina producers can't legally sell cheeses made with raw milk. But sometimes this product can be purchased on the green market, even this is not regulated by law.
The war, which recently took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, highly affected rural areas. After the war just a small number of the rural population returned to their homes. Majority sought opportunities in urban areas. So, the number of producers reduced.
Another reason for the decline in production of the Livno cheese is its traditional recipe which prescribes the use of unpasteurized milk. Because of this, the production has not yet been legally regulated which presents a significant problem for its sale on the markets. And now the big problem is also to whom to sell the cheese.
Before war the main market for this type of cheese was Dalmatia coast, but after the war this has been stopped and after that producers smuggled cheese to Croatia. Now, since Croatia entered the EU, there is no way to bring Livno cheese to Croatia and only way to sell it is "on the doorstep". And now often can be a problem to sell traditional Livno cheese.