Balkan donkey, and "world's priciest cheese"

BELGRADE -- A nature reserve north of Belgrade is home to a herd of some 100 Balkan donkeys, while their milk is used to make "the world's most expensive cheese".

The Balkan donkey (zasavica.org.rs)
The Balkan donkey (zasavica.org.rs)

This is according to reports from the Zasavica reserve, near the town of Sremska Mitrovica.

The Zasavica management have decided to collect donkey milk and make cheese – and put a price tag of EUR 1,000 on one kilogram of the product.

That figure is twice the price of a kilogram of moose cheese, our reporter noted.

The smoked cheese – sold under the name of Pule (Serbian for foal) – was promoted recently during the Tourism Fair, and is made exclusively on advance orders. After the fair, Zasavica has had one order, for half a kilogram.

Zasavica Special Nature Reserve Manager Slobodan Simić says that no special ingredients go the pricy cheese, and explains that, given that one kilogram takes 25 liters of milk to make, while one liter of milk costs EUR 40, the price comes to EUR 1,000 per kilogram.

"Nobody was willing to make it, because it contains low levels of milk fat, but we wanted to have a rare product and attract people to first come to the nature, and then try products made from (the milk) of ancient breeds," says Simić.

Not content with this, the Zasavica staff have started experimenting, and are now manufacturing cosmetic creams, soaps, and a type of liqueur – all made from donkey milk.