Oscypek is traditional cheese from Polish mountains. It’s a smoked, very salty cheese made of sheep. The taste of the cheese is pretty strong, and not everybody will be fond of it, but I think that the cheese is something that you should try when you are in Podhale. The authentic Oscypek can be found on the streets and also in the restaurants.
There are few things you need to know about buying authentic Oscypek in Podhale or any other part of Poland. In polish shops and restaurants you can find cheeses that contain cow milk that look very similar to Oscypek, so you need to make sure you know, what you are buying.
The authentic Oscypek is made from May until September, and it can be bought only from May until October. Real Oscypek also has lighter color (outside and inside) then the cheese made of cow milk. The original Oscypek weights from 600-800g and it’s length is from 17cm to 23 cm. They look like two cones joined together. On the label, you need to look for the word “OWCZY” which means “made of sheep.”
The other cheese which is similar to authentic Oscypek is called Golka. Usually, this cheese has a cylinder shape. They have a delicate taste and are not as salty as an original once.
You can find them in 2 different colors:
- yellow – the cheese that has been smoked
- white – the cheese that hasn’t been smoked
To make sure I would ask the person who is selling it to show a certificate because there are plenty of cheaters especially on Krupowki Street and next to Gubalowka Mountain. The safest way is actually to buy Oscypek in Bacowka (mountain shelter), there you will for sure find the real Oscypek. If somebody of you speaks polish here is a list of mountain shelters which sell the authentic Oscypek: Szlak Oscypkowy. You can also find a mobile phone application showing you the mountain shelters when you type Szlak Oscypkowy in an App Store, Google Play and for a Windows Phone. The app also works offline, which is excellent for tourists from other countries.
I would still recommend you to try all of the cheeses made in Polish mountains. I am sure that this will be an unforgettable experience for you.
The ways to eat Oscypek
Every year I spent a holiday with my family in the mountains and the only way to eat Oscypek back then was to eat it straight as it comes – no cooking involved. Although Oscypek has such a strong taste I liked it even when I was a kid. On our hiking trips, we always had one in a pocket! But few years have passed by since I was a kid, so things also changed for Oscypek.
The last time when I was in the mountains, we went to several restaurants, and we have realized that Oscypek makes a great starter. My favorite way of eating it was straight from the pan with fried onions and cranberries on the side. I loved it so much that I have decided to prepare it for myself and my readers. If you are interested how to make pan-fried Oscypek please check out this recipe: Traditional Pan-fried Oscypek. The other delicious way of eating this cheese is to eat it with bacon! What a treat. After spending Easter 2018 in Poland, I have decided to add also this recipe to our blog: Traditional baked Oscypek with Bacon. It’s also very easy to make and mouthwatering!
I am really glad, that the polish cuisine still developes and there are new dishes that are made using local products. Talking about local products – in Poland there is plenty of it them to try – so get your stomach ready for this culinary explosion!
If you are interested in Polish dishes please take a few minutes to watch our video, to find out what to eat on your trip to Poland: