Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Smile Cheese when you see the price

In his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, Get Up & Go guest blogger David Ellis says the world’s most expensive cheese doesn’t come from cows or goats, and you won’t find it in the plushest restaurants or finest delis in London, New York or Paris.

Instead this cheese comes from the milk of donkeys, just 100 jennies amongst a pack of 130 of them that live in a Special Nature Preserve outside the Serbian capital Belgrade.

And if you want to find out why it can command such a bizarre price, you’ll have to go to Belgrade to try it for yourself, because it’s not sold retail anywhere else in the world - and you’ll pay the equivalent of around AU$3000 a kilo for your little indulgence.

Serbian donkey cheese is white, crumbly and intensely flavoured
 - and the most expensive cheese in the world.

Called “Pule” it’s made in what’s said to be the world’s only donkey cheese factory, with 25 litres of donkey milk (6.6 gallons) required for each kilogram of cheese, and annual production a mere 200 kilograms. Those who’ve tried it in local restaurants, say it’s white and crumbly, intensely flavoured, has a natural saltiness to it, and is smoked in the final stages of production.

Highly nutritious donkey milk that’s beneficial to babies’ immune systems and is used in many European beauty and skin-care products, is also available at an equally pricey 40 Euros a litre (around AU$59) – because donkeys are simply not big daily milk producers.

And which reminds us that ancient Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra bathed nightly in donkey’s milk to preserve the beauty and youth of her skin… and to indulge her whim, needed 700 of the animals on stand-by no matter where she travelled.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Czech Republic's Kosher Wine Tasting

Guest blogger Catherine Marshall shares a special wine tasting with us . . .

This is the perfect place to host a kosher wine degustation: Trebic's Jewish Quarter which comprises, along with the city's Jewish Cemetery and the St Procopius Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In a café near the Jewish Gate, Szabo Tibor pours a Riesling and points to the platters before me: there is cheese and bread, meat spread and blue cheese spread and – could it be? – a slice of chocolate cake.

“Taste the wine, eat something,” he says. “Taste it again and you will see the taste changes.”

And indeed he’s right: something happens to the receptors on my tongue when I follow the food with wine. I try it again, with the chardonnay and the rose and the black grape varietal called Svatovavrinecke.

They’re lovely-tasting wines, but undetectable as a kosher, for such wines are classified not by taste but by the method of production.

“From the time you pick the grape, to the moment the cork goes in, only Orthodox Jews can [be involved],” says Tibor, himself merely a Gentile wine lover. “The process is supervised by a rabbi from Prague.”

Just one Jewish family remains in Trebic – home to the largest and best-preserved Jewish Quarter outside of Israel, from which thousands of Jews were transported to death camps during World War II. And only two kosher winemakers remain in the Czech Republic. Yet locals are keeping the Jewish memory alive: Tibor holds his kosher wine tastings, while resident Linda Navratilova immersive Jewish experience tours.

Back at the café, it’s time to taste the dessert wine, Zweigeltrabe. I take a sip, and follow it with a bite of chocolate cake. How appropriate that this wine should be served during Shabbat, for it’s as though I’ve tasted a piece of heaven.

The writer was a guest of Beyond Travel. More information:;