ISTANBUL (IHA) : The renowned Ezine cheese, crafted from the milk of sheep, goats and cows grazing at the foothills of Mount Ida (Kaz Dağları), has achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the first cheese in Türkiye to receive a geographical indication certification from the EU.
The secret behind the globally acclaimed Ezine cheese lies in the geographical location, where animals graze on a mixture of thyme, endemic plants and other herbs. These animals, thriving in this region, contribute to the creation of both productive and flavorful milk, which forms the basis of Ezine cheese.
Composed of 15% cow’s milk and the rest derived from sheep and goat’s milk, the cheese benefits immensely from the specific blend of flora consumed by these animals.
Furthermore, the geographical indication attached to Ezine cheese significantly elevates the value within the region, with agriculture and livestock playing pivotal roles in the local economy. Approximately 250,000 to 300,000 tins of Ezine cheese, each weighing around 18 kilograms (39.68 pounds), are produced annually in the area, retailing at TL 230 ($7.94) per kilogram for wholesalers and retailers.
The application for EU geographical indication was submitted for Ezine cheese in February and on Nov. 18 it received official recognition. Now it marks a proud moment as Ezine cheese secures its place as the first cheese from Türkiye to attain a geographical indication certification from the EU.
Expressing pride in Ezine cheese becoming a hallmark of the region, Güray Yüksel, the mayor of Ezine, conveyed gratitude to the Agriculture and Forestry Minister Ibrahim Yumaklı and the producers’ association for their support.
“We take pride in introducing the delightful taste of a small region to all of Türkiye on behalf of our city and our citizens. Hopefully, this will open doors for exports to the EU. Ezine cheese derives its robust flavor from the local small ruminant husbandry and the fermentation process after aging for a year, resulting in a firm and gratifying texture for consumers,” he said.
“The main objective is for the essence of the region’s sheep, cheese and vegetation to impart a delightful taste to consumers’ palates, influenced by the unique flora, crafting a remarkable culinary experience,” he added.