It’s made in Transylvania, where the shepherds still herd their flocks in the good old fashioned way, on open mountain slopes. You’ll see a number of mountain dairies (“stâna”) – in fact, if you stop by you will get a royal treatment for sure. They’ll set the table for you, with fresh organic produce, and good wine, or liquors from the region. Nothing fancy though, just a traditional meal that tastes like home for so many Romanians.
It’s here where they make a rare cheese that rivals with some of the finest you’ve ever tasted. Aside the traditional telemea – similar to Greek feta – urdă, caşcaval and caş, they make Brânză de burduf, the most valuable among Romanian cheeses.
The basis of this extraordinary cheese is the sweet caş. Caş is made up by adding rennet to fresh milk. After this coagulates, the curd is crushed and then gathered and hung in a textile material to allow the whey to drain.
Brânza de burduf made with caş and a little extra… caş is cut into small pieces, salted and then hand-mixed in a large wooden bowl. The mixture is then placed in a sheep’s stomach, or into a sheep’s skin that has been carefully cleaned and sawed on the edges, or in a tube made of pine bark.
La Fondazione describes the process more in depth:
Brânza de burduf in pine bark is produced from May to July, when the trees are rich in aromatic resin: after the bark is scraped, it is softened in hot whey and then sewed to obtain cylindrical containers 20-25 cm high and 10 cm wide, sealed with bark discs at the edges. It can be aged from 20 days to 2-3 months, its flavor becoming increasingly spicy with aging. Fir tree bark imparts a resinous flavor on the cheese and enriches its taste qualities.