A Cheese Lover's Guide to Ukraine

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Photo of Maria Sibirtseva
23 May 2018

Ukraine experienced an extreme boost from the made-in-Ukraine trend that happened right after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014. Locals started to appreciate the high quality and reasonable prices of goods and began to produce more. The hype wound up affecting all spheres of business, and as it turns out, Ukrainians have a flair for everything, including cheese-making.

What cheeses to try

Although Ukrainian farms comply with all European standards and quality requirements, there’s one peculiar feature that distinguishes the local cheese: bitterness. This is because animals that give milk for the cheese are fed with hay. To get a better understanding of the Ukrainian gastronomy, you must try the craft cheeses with saturated aromas and vivid flavours. Local producers tend to complement goods like these cheeses with seasonings, nuts and greens, thus creating signature samples. For instance, a must-try is the Fromages d’Elise cheese that ripens around 16 months and has a very rich spicy taste.

Cheese and bread | © jackmac34 / Pixabay

The best cheese factories in Ukraine

Of course, Ukrainian supermarkets are full of foreign cheeses and well-known cheese brands, but the greater value lies in the authentic local cheeses, which are really tasty and completely natural. Dooobra Ferma produces both cow and goat milk cheeses mostly of the hard variety. As all the goods are handmade only from natural milk, it is impossible to repeat the same taste twice. Thus, each Dooobra Ferma cheese is unique.

A food lover’s paradise, Fromages d’Elise is located 12.4 miles (20 km) away from Lviv. This goat farm has a range of fresh products: cottage cheese (feta, ricotta), aged cheeses with natural mould and young cheeses like Bûche and Crottin. They also welcome tourists to visit their workshop, watch the process of cheese-making and even have a walk with the livestock.

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Kozachka brand is worthy of special attention, too. Along with homemade cheeses prepared in accordance with special recipes from fresh milk and without the use of vegetable fats, preservatives or other additives, Kozachka’s creator, Tetyana Dyadechko, has established the School of Cheese, where she holds cheese-making workshops.

Popular cheese venues in Ukraine

Ukraine’s love for cheese can be observed through its numerous venues and events that are devoted to this delicacy. The most popular events are Kiev Food and Wine Festival and Lviv Cheese and Wine Festival, where local cheeses and wines are presented, tasted and sold. Did we mention the massive event, Cheese Awards Day, which unites hundreds of craft cheese producers from all over Ukraine? This event has helped nurture Ukraine’s cheese culture and is a great place to introduce new kinds of goods each year.

Kiev Cheese Museum is the one and the only venue in Ukraine where you can learn the history of cheese-making in the country and around the world. Here you can find ancient tools of production and memorable exhibits like the largest collection of cheese knives in the country or brochures from the twentieth century when Ukraine presented cheeses at the international cheese exhibition in Marseille, France. As the museum was established by the Dooobra Ferma owners, it also offers a tasting experience with more than 20 types of cheeses. The experts at the museum will also help you pick out an appropriate wine to pair with your preferred selection.

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