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Cheese from the Mountain: OPG Čavrag, Jasenak

At the foothills of the highest mountain in Gorski kotar Bjelolasica (1534m), next to the Jasenčica creek, since the Middle ages people live in a mountain place of Jasenak. The legend tells us some people got lost in the woods and suddenly came to a mountain meadow surrounded by the ash tree (jasen). They have settled here and started a life among the ash trees. Today we know most of the inhabitants came from Gomirje (place where the westernmost Christian Orthodox monastery in Europe exists) in 1632 as shepherds, but it is more known as an entry point to the Bjelolasica sport ground and ski terrain.

Unfortunately, less and less people live permanently in Jasenak. One of them is Mrs Dušanka Čavrag, the restless owner of the Čavrag dairy. Her cows graze the rich pastures of the Jasenak meadows, giving fresh and healthy milk. Traditional knowledge leads Mrs Čavrag to the praised cheese enriched with herbs.

We met Mrs Dušanka while she was driving from the seaside, some 40 km away. Every week she drives to Ogulin, seaside resorts, and Zagreb to sell her cheeses. And what a tasty cheeses they are! We tried them as excellent apperizer in the restaurant Konaci, on a nearby agritourism.

The basis are two traditional cheeses of this area – Škripavac and semi-hard smoked cheese. Čavrag offers also smoked Škripavac, a unique pleasure of combining the two. Dimsi, as the smoked cheese is branded, has distinctive smoky scent and pure taste.

Cheese with pepper is enjoyable cheese to explore. First one tastes pure cheese, but bits of hot pepper resume the strong flavour. Indeed, a great cheese to savour with some white wine. Cheese with chive is another cheese with soft-strong dichotomy, in same time mild and full of chive flavour.

But the delicacies from the Čavrag dairy do not stop here. Apart from cottage cheese with sour cream and eggs, you can buy here curd (skuta), made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of curding is met. It is soft, white and unaged masterpiece, extremely healthy for diet. Another traditional delicacy is basa, traditional Lika cottage cheese.

Sirana Čavrag Jasenak 84, Ogulin 00 385 47 562 229, 00 385 98 755 282


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