When your friends are scattered around the globe, spontaneous beers are a rare joy, but on the upside you get inside-views of other cultures and countries.
One of my friends co-runs hep.istanbul vienna, a company specialized in concept & strategy development for a number of things including the food and drink sector.
So, naturally when given the “please bring me some cheese from Turkey” challenge, he didn´t show up with just some random market cheese.
In his luggage – and I have to say, sometimes I wonder at what customs lets through – a pressed, salted curd cheese from Divle/ Üçharman, a small village located near the city of Konya on the Central Anatolian Plateau.
Divle Obruk Peyniri (Peyniri being Turkish for cheese) is made from a mix of ewe´s & goat´s milk and ripens 4-12 months in a cave (Turkish: obruk), after being pressed and sewn into a dried goat´s skin- in our case with all the hair still in place.
Turkey, by geographical location near the birth-place of cheese and animal domestication has a long-standing history in the production of cheeses, and cheeses sewn into skin (Turkish: tulum) look back to centuries of nomadic cheese production.
Gustav, who is hard to impress with the odoral presence of cheese, put his paw down on this one and said that for once he is in with pairing a cheese. We decided on Turkish pickles, baklava as kind of a Turkish chutney and of course some Raki.
Without all that we didn´t dare to start.
But just as dogs that bark don´t bite, Divle Obruk turned out to be not entirely the taste bud killer we expected from his sour, barn floor smell.
The paste reminds of a crumbly ricotta salata, and when melting in your mouth seperates salt crystals that carry an intense mineralic and sharp sheep flavor. The pairing with local pickles and Raki lowers the animal flavor intensity in support of the grassy and citrusy sides of this Turkish gem.
Gustav who rates it 13/10 says Divle Obruk Peyniri is definitely a wolf in goat´s skin.