The story of the kvargl cheese

The legendary kvargl cheese is an autochthonous cheese from the area of Bjelovar. Notes on it date between 1765 and 1787, and the influence under which it was created has its roots in Austria and the Czech Republic. It is a cheese of relatively small volume and mass that is obtained from cow’s milk, and after squeezing, salting and adding red pepper, it is shaped into a small cone. After that, it is dried and smoked, and the whole process has been done manually since the 18th century.

Since it is so specific and one of the symbols of Bjelovar, the idea of protecting this product and preserving its recipe so that it could be passed down from generation to generation forever came up twenty years ago. With this goal, the Association of Cheese Producers in Croatia – Bjelovar kvargl was founded in 2006. Over the years, the actors of the association have fought for a clear distinction between the cheeses – Bjelovar kvargl and Podravka prgica or Međimurje turosh, which are very similar cheeses. In 2016, the Bjelovar kvargl was protected by the designation of geographical origin under the name ‘Bjelovar kvargl’, and four years later it was also protected at the European level.

The taste of this legendary cheese is slightly sour, and what distinguishes it from prgica and turosh is the specific aroma of smoke, which these two cheeses do not have because they are not smoked. In Bjelovar kvargl, you will feel mild notes of pepper, and you will most often eat it with dried meat products and other types of cold cuts.