The greatest of inventions and discoveries are made by accident. Gravity, fire – you name it. One such phenomenal invention that has left the whole world wondering is pule donkey cheese, the most expensive cheese in the world. Invented not by intent but a series of events, this donkey cheese is a blend of donkey milk, goat milk, and bacteria and preservatives that make it possible. But why is it the most expensive cheese in the world? Let’s find out.
What’s the story behind pule donkey cheese?
Pule donkey cheese is made from the milk of a special species of donkeys who live in a reserve in Serbia that was founded 25 years ago. The Zasavica Special Nature Reserve houses around two hundred and fifty Balkan donkeys, an endangered species. When the number of donkeys started increasing in the reserve, there was an excess of milk. Founder Slobadan Simic decided to try and turn this donkey milk into cheese. Little did he know he was inventing the most expensive cheese of the world!
Which donkeys give the milk for pule cheese?
As we said earlier, donkey pule cheese is made using the milk of an endangered species, the Balkan donkeys. Females of this species produce milk for only six months a year, and you then have to wait another year for them to get ready to produce milk again. It takes around six and a half gallons of donkey milk to make one kilo of this cheese, which is a lot more than what you’d need to make mozzarella. But it’s worth it, because this particular type of milk is rich in protein, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, which in turn means cheese made from it is one of the healthiest you can put in your mouth!
What makes this donkey cheese the most expensive in the world?
Now that’s a question we all want answered. Not that we mind paying for cheese, but a pound of donkey pule cheese will cost you over $600! The endangered nature of the donkeys who produce milk for pule cheese is one factor that makes it expensive. But that’s not all. Donkey milk is low in fat and has a low amount of the protein casein that allows cheese to coagulate on its own. So, along with the rarity of this donkey, the unique nature of its milk makes the cheese harder to make. Now, you could probably use any donkey milk to create pule cheese, but only if. The most expensive cheese in the world is made using 60% donkey milk, 40% goat milk and a blend of preservatives and bacteria that only creator Slobadan Simic and one other person know about. Many have tried to recreate pule cheese, but in vain.
On an average, the reserve produces fifty to seventy kilos of this cheese each year. Maintanence also counts. Imagine having to run a reserve on your own: pay your employees, pay for the medical care of donkeys, for their feed, for power and water, and so much more. Being the only pule cheese producing reserve in the world, the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve takes pride in its job – workers hand milk the donkeys, the cheese is left to age for over a month, and then sold.
Donkey milk cannot travel to all parts of the world, because it needs to be pasteurised to be legal in some areas. However, once you pasteurise this particular milk, it loses all that makes it special. An exotic cheese, how about that?