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Sirene

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Sirene (Bulgarian: сирене), officially called the "white brine sirene" is a type of brine cheese made in South-Eastern Europe, especially popular in Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and other Balkan countries.

Left: Sirene.

It was originally made of goat's milk, but the predominant variation today is made of the cheaper cow's milk, sheep milk or a combination of milks. It is slightly crumbly with a fat content of about 40-45%. It is commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. It is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads and in baking.

Sirene, together with yoghurt, is a national food of all the countries in Balkans. Many Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Macedonians and Greeks regularly eat some sirene or yoghourt in some form.

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One of the traditional dishes using sirene is Shopska salad, made with tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions and sirene. Tomatoes with sirene is a traditional light salad during the summer.

Left: Bulgarian Sirene and products for preparation of Shopska salad.

There is also a popular kind of boiled eggs over mashed sirene with a sauce of yogurt, garlic, parsley and walnuts (€йца по панагюрски; eggs a la Panagyurishte).

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