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Traditional Oscypek
Place of originPoland
Main ingredientsSmoked cheese, salt, sheep milk
VariationsWith cranberry jam

Oscypek, Oszczypek (Polish; plural: oscypki) is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland. Oscypek is made by experts named 'baca'. The cheese is a traditional holiday cheese in many European countries.

Oscypek with cranberry

A similar cheese is made in the Slovak Tatra Mountains under the name oštiepok. The cheeses differ in the ratio of their ingredients, the cheesemaking process and the characteristics of the final product.[1] Oscypek needs to be made from at least 60% sheep’s milk, and must weigh between 60 and 80g and measure between 17 and 23cm. It can only be produced between late April to early October, when the sheep used is fed on fresh mountain grass. [2]

Oscypek is made using salted sheep's milk, with the addition of cow's milk strictly regulated by the protected recipe. Unpasteurized salted sheep's milk is first turned into cottage cheese, which is then repeatedly rinsed with boiling water and squeezed. After this, the mass is pressed into wooden, spindle-shaped forms in decorative shapes. The forms are then placed in a brine-filled barrel for a night or two, after which they are placed close to the roof in a special wooden hut and cured in hot smoke for up to 14 days.[3]

The first mention of cheese production in the Tatra Mountains dates back to the 15th century, in a document from the village of Ochotnica in 1416. The first recorded recipe for Oscypek was issued in 1748 in the Żywiec area.[3] There is also a smaller form called redykołka, known as the 'younger sister' of oscypek.

Oscypek (protected geographical indication) may be produced only in the Nowy Targ and Tatra counties, as well as in parts of the Cieszyn, Limanowa, Nowy Sącz, Sucha Beskidzka and Żywiec counties in southern Poland. Source: EU document 52006XC0802(06)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Spor o oštiepok je zo stola, V4 plánuje žalobu na Komisiu" (in Slovak). EurActiv. June 5, 2007. Retrieved May 1, 2008.
  2. ^ Mecking, Olga. "Poland's surprisingly beautiful cheese". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  3. ^ a b "Scyplawy i twardsy" (in Polish). Tygodnik Powszechny. March 4, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2008.