Telemea is the name given to a variety of Romanian cheeses. Although the term is denoted to cheeses made from cow milk it encompasses those made from the milk of ewes too. The different varieties of the cheese have different properties with the Sir from Serbia, Sirene from Macedonia and Bulgaria along with the Greek Feta having a tangy aftertaste and a high water content. Ageing makes the cheese more flavorful as well as crispier.
Cumin seeds are often added to the cheese to make it spicier, imparting it with a nutty taste. It is usually eaten as a table cheese or sprinkled on salads, pies and crepe fillings.
The cheese is produced by curdling either cow’s milk or sheep’s milk with rennet. Buffalo and goat’s milk may be used sparingly as well and is considered to be a delicacy. The cheese is preserved in brine throughout the winter season and cut into cubes before being consumed.
History of The Telemea Cheese
The production of the cheese has been traced to the ancient Vlach nomads inhabiting Romania. They have now scattered all over Greece and Poland. Telemea is also given as rent to the animal owners who transport the produce into the villages of Romania for selling it.
It has now been granted the status of Protected Designation of Origin by the European Union. The regions of Arges, Carei, Sibiu, Brasov, Huedin town, central Harghita, the northwestern region of Oas along with the south central Valcea are recognized legally as producers of the cheese.
Popular Telemea Cheese Recipes
- Mamaliga- A peasant dish of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine is eaten as a bread substitute along with Telemea and sour cream.
- Nettle Soup- A soup made out of stingy nettles and stock. The cheese cubes are added for flavor.
- Pasca- A Romanian bread with cheese filling eaten during Easter.
- Clătită- A Romanian pancake filled with ground meat and the cheese.
- Salads- Cubed and added to a variety of fresh salads.
Buying/Storing Tips: Telemea Cheeses
It is available locally in Romania and Greece but is exported to other countries as well. It can be bought from any gourmet cheese store or from an online store specializing in cheeses.
The cheese is sometimes preserved by rolling it in ash. However, the cheese bought from gourmet shops do not have any ash on them and can be stored for up to two weeks.
Nutritive Value: Telemea Cheeses
A single serving of the cheese contains 45% cheese and 10% protein.
TeleˈMe̯a Cheese: Trivia
The fresh form of Telemea which has not been aged is known as caş.