Kaskavali Pindos / Kashkaval Pindos: The latest addition to the Greek PDO Cheeses

Kashkavali Pindos PDO Product

Kaskavali (aka Kaskaval or Kashkaval) cheese is a fine product with an important historical path. The history of Kaskavali cheese goes back in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it traveled all the way from the Pindos mountain range to the Balkans, Italy the southern regions of Russia, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco becoming very popular to all markets. Recently (May 2023), according to the relevant publication in the newspaper of the European Union, the cheese with the name “Kaskavali Pindou” was approved in principle as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) product.

This was the result of an initiative and a series of procedures undertaken in recent years by the Region of Epirus for this excellent traditional product, which is directly linked to the life of the Vlachs in the Pindos mountain range, but also the Balkans, where they arrived due to the activities and their movements. This recent development to the product’s status is very well deserved.

Kaskavali is a semi-hard cheese, whitish to pale yellow in color, cylindrical or parallelepiped in shape. It is prepared using the technique of heated cheese mass from sheep milk or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk (with goat’s always in a proportion of less than 35%), using a special technique developed and spread by the Vlach-speaking nomads-breeders of the Balkans, driven from the regions of the central northern end of the Pindos Mountain range. Kaskavali requires a total preparation-ripening period of about 90 days to be ready for consumption.

It has a buttery, slightly acidic and slightly salty taste, which differentiates it from similar cheeses. The taste characteristics of the product are contributed by the high fat content and the intense-rich aroma of the milk from the demarcated area, but also by the traditional cheese-making technique that required the periodic addition of salt and the processing of the cheese mass in two distinct stages, which allowed for the immediate processing of the milk that was produced during the summer at the mountain altitudes, where there were no cheese-maturing plants. (info taken from www.minagric.gr)