Kargi tulum

Milk and milk products - Turkey

Kargi tulum cheese is a semi-hard cheese with a crumbly texture and creamy white color, pressed and aged in tulum (goat or lambskin). It is produced with raw sheep, goat, cow or buffalo milk, or a mixture of multiple types, and spontaneous fermentation with no added starters. Kargi tulum is manufactured during summer months to be sold in autumn. The traditional production method of Kargi tulum cheese begins with adding rennet and salt to lukewarm, fresh, raw milk. The indigenous microflora contained in the raw milk increases the acidity of the curd for 12 hours. Afterwards, the curd is cut into small pieces by hand and put into small cotton bags. A weight is then put over the bags to drain the whey for 24 hours. The drained curds are kneaded with salt and put into larger cotton bags, which are weighted to drain any remaining whey. The cheese is removed from the big cotton bags once every 15 to 20 days, kneaded and put into new cotton bags. This process is repeated until the end of October. Afterwards, the curds are compressed into sheep or goatskin bags so that no entrapped air remains. Produced in Karg? province in northern central Turkey, the annual quantity of 25 tons is mostly consumed in the region of Çorum and its neighboring provinces Kastamonu, Samsun and Ankara. In Karg? specifically, the production is at 5 tons per year. All of the producers work at the artisanal level, and there is also home production. The cheese can be ordered directly from the producers or bought from their shops in Karg?. Economic difficulties facing producers have resulted in fewer people raising animals and living in rural areas in general. Just a few years ago, there were 150 producers of Kargi tulum in the area, but now that number is between 25 and 30. There are only 70 to 80 shepherds left working in the area. In addition, hygiene rules enforced by the European Union make the continued production of this cheese difficult.