Celebrating the Oscypek, Traditional Sheep Cheese

View all 28 Photos

To celebrate centuries of handmade cheese making, photographer Michal Korta spent three days capturing the process of creating Oscypek, a smoked cheese made from salted sheep milk. In the Tatra Mountains of Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, this special cheese has had its beginning in the 15th century.

The taste of the cheese depends on the time of year it was made and the herbs and grass eaten by the sheep. Some people claim the cheese is at its finest during the spring since the milk is full of fat. The Gorale (or highlanders) indigenous people along the southern Polish region of Podhale in the Tatra mountains hand make this distinct form of cheese. These people can also be found in Chicago, Illinois and spend weeks at a time outside their homes in wooden shelters looking after their herd. During the months of May to September, they start their day early in the morning milking the sheep three times a day.

The process starts by gathering each individual sheep to be treated for medicine and to then get their wool sheared. The Gorales milk the sheep by hand and mix the formula with cows milk. After heating it, the unpasteurized liquid is turned into cottage cheese, is repeatedly rinsed with hot salt water and is then squeezed by hand. It’s pressed into these decorative handmade wooden spindles and is left to sit in a brine filled barrel for one or two nights. Finally, the cheese is placed closed to the roof in a wooden hut and is cured in hot smoke for up to 14 days.

Featured Products Explore new arrivals at the Gessato Shop

Take me there

  • Boat Rooms on the Fuchun River

    A creatively designed retreat that celebrates an ancient local tradition. Built on the banks of…

  • andBeyond Vira Vira Lodge

    A serene retreat set on a working farm in Chile. Back in the early ‘90s,…

  • Eastwind Hotel & Bar

    A cozy upstate New York retreat in the Catskill Mountains. The brainchild of a group…

  • The Kumaon

    A serene mountain retreat in the Himalayas. Located 1600m above sea level in the Village…

More for you

                array(5) {
  ["post__not_in"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(54121)
  }
  ["tag__not_in"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(16203)
    [1]=>
    int(9208)
  }
  ["posts_per_page"]=>
  int(12)
  ["caller_get_posts"]=>
  int(1)
  ["cat"]=>
  int(16041)
}
            
  • Chocolate Naive

    When chocolate is more than just an indulgent treat. Based in a small town in…

  • Upper Left Roasters

    A coffee brand with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest. Opened in 2015, Upper Left…

  • Dandelion Chocolate

    A celebration of flavor. In the US, chocolate making is currently undergoing a small but…

  • Caffè Diemme

    Tradition, quality, and modern technology blend in a great-tasting coffee. Padua-based Caffè Diemme goes back…

  • Brasstown Craft Chocolate

    A symphony of flavors. Fine chocolate may be as sophisticated as fine wine, but Brasstown…

  • Steeped Coffee

    A revolution is brewing. Believing that making a good cup of coffee should be as…

  • The Hinoki Knives

    Knives that sharpen cooking skills. Designed to inspire and to stimulate the senses, the new…

  • Dick Taylor Chocolate

    From furniture making to delicious artisan chocolate. Craftsmanship and the art of making a product…

  • Omnom Chocolate

    Where artisan chocolate meets creative design. Based in Reykjavík, Iceland, Omnom is the brainchild of…

  • The Yemen Trilogy Coffee

    An aromatic journey. Sourced from Yemen, a country where the ancient Udaini varietal – aka…

  • Lindores Abbey Distillery

    Reopening the doors of Scotch whisky’s spiritual home. Founded in 1191, Lindores Abbey stood on…

Close Cart