Updated: Feb 19, 2019
„You've said you will be here round noon“, a strict voice of Mrs Vesna Mrakovčić tells us while she opens the door of Magriž dairy in centre of Kornić. We feel a bit embarrassed, as this is more than a true. But we were caught up with some serious lamb business in the nearby Konoba Marea and lost track of time. In Marea we already tried the famous cheese stemming from the Mrakovčić family. This cheese is among the most popular and most praised in Croatia, winning awards worldwide.
Dairy is hidden in the basement of a large family house, where Vesna and Mirjenko Mrakovčić since 1984 make Krk Cheese. They care for some 150 Krk sheep who graze the open karstic meadows on the southern part of the Krk island. Here they find among the rocks healthy Mediterranean herbs and grass and enjoy spectacular views on the island. Their milk is then used to make an authentic sheep cheese in a way done by the islanders for centuries, but with contemporary standards.
In the cool rooms of the dairy, Mrs Vesna opens a door to let us in the beautiful space where cheese ripe. Here all varieties of cheese come to life on wooden shelves, representing aromas of Krk. Mrs Vesna even protected three kinds of cheese: Črni bodul, Zeleni bodul and Magriž. Črni bodul (meaning the Black Islander in the dialect) is hard sheep cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves, which gives a specific aroma and colour. The cheese is wrapped after it is ripe and it gives a spectacular colour afterwards. This idea is one of the patents of Mrs Vesna, who is making cheese for over 35 years now.
The Zeleni bodul (The Green Islander) is a semi-solid and full-bodied cheese cheese, enriched with rosemary aroma. Its slices are intensely scented, with somewhat spicy and bitter taste. It is used for the flavouring of various dishes, and it is associated with the healing properties of circulation stimulating, which has a positive effect on the concentration and healing of the headache, tells us Mrs Vesna. The production of this cheese is also done in the traditional way, and the addition of this Mediterranean aromatic plant takes place during the ripening period when cheeses are coated with rosemary. This cheese is characterized by a flavour and scent that has enriched the existing organoleptique properties of sheep cheese. It is moderately salty and melts in the mouth. This is also a completely new product, and a new patent application.
The Magriž cheese is a traditional sheep cheese with an enhanced sage and herb aroma. Namely, as the sheep live in open all year round and they eat autochthonous herbs, most of which is sage and herbs, the milk and cheese itself have a special aromatic flavour. Magriž spells out the empire of rocks, swirling pastures, aromatic herbs, and a dry bura wind that brings pure sea salt crystals. The name Magriž is a highly represented plant species that, despite the bura that bring salt from the sea, grow relentlessly on the rocky pastures of the island of Krk. These pastures are the free space where the sheep are fed, so the plant is a loose-leafed ingredient that gives the sheep's milk a special taste, and thus the specific flavour and character of family Mrakovčić’s cheese.
The Magriž dairy also produces excellent hard sheep cheese that won more than 50 awards. There is also the smoked sheep cheese and sheep curd that can be bought in the dairy itself, together with some other typical Krk products from Kornić. This place is so close to the sea, but people here never lived from the sea. They were never fishermen but were dedicated to the sheep herding and olive groves. Even today this continues to be true, along the tourism business. The Kornić houses and olive groves stop at the magistral way from Krk to Punat and Baška, delineating a border between seafront and sheep land.
While Mrs Vesna works in the dairy, you may find Mr Mirjenko roaming through the stone drywalls (suhozid), while he cares for olive groves and look after his sheep. This recognisable scenery is a cultural landscape of southern part of Krk island, which is bare and rocky like most of Adriatic islands. We met Mr Mirjenko exactly when he came home after doing his regular tour round the village. His bright smile and few jokes immediately shows a typical mind of hospitable and welcoming islander. We are glad to meet such people all around this area, as it shows that their products come from heart and soul, blessed with beautiful yet harsh natural environment. It is a loving blend of rock, sun, sea and wind that these people create culinary masterpieces!
If you want to visit Magriž dairy, just follow the main road to Kornić and keep looking for big signs:
OPG Magriž - ovčji sir, maslinovo ulje i vino 17. travnja 9, 51517 Kornić
Tel/fax: 00385 (0)51 851 351
Mobitel: 00385 (0)98 925 1624, 00385 (0) 98 925 1625
Gallery (photos by Taste of Adriatic and OPG Magriž):