There is no such kaymak (creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream-sour cream) as in Romanija region and gourmets know that for a long time. And in 2019 it was officially confirmed by the seal of International Organization for protection of Intellectual property. So, the cream made by housewives from this region for centuries, has become brand recognized in 29 country around the world.
And what is the secret of Romanija’s kaymak? Why all creams are not the same? And how kaymak when „grows up“ becomes skorup, the best product that mountain milk can give?
These, and many other mysteries were discovered to us by Dusanka Borovcanin, from Sokolac, one of the housewives from Sokolac who are experts for production of Romanija’s kajmak and skorup.
– Thirty years ago, when I got married , I have started making the kaymak and skorup, like all other women. I carefully learned how my mother- in –law did it. And nothing has changed since then, except the dishes – said Dusanka.
In the past, she says, milk was poured into wooden pelvises, which were regularly washed exclusively with whey. No detergent! And that swill was given to the cattle.
Nowadays, the dishes of enamel and stainless steel are used. And even today, to make kaymak , you have to work hard and pay attention to every detail.
Dusasnka explains that milk is boiled in big pots, and as such is poured in smaller pots an left on the stove for few hours.
Then, that milk is put into cottage , where fire is lit, and there the future kaymak is beeing smoked. That gives it a special taste, characteristic for Romanija’s kaymak. It is left in cottage for 72 hours, and thus the crust is formed – said Dusanka.
Then, the kaymak is removed and put into wooden vats. It is salted, covered with a cloth and a wooden circle, and pressed with a stone. The circle, stone and cloth are washed with whey every seven days.
Kaymak can be „young“ (it doesn’t stay long ih those wooden vats), but skorup is kaymak that stays in those wooden vats at least two months.
But that’s not all. The dishes for kaymak production must be washed regularly and dried in the sun.
But also the raw material for production of it must be special. If it is cow milk, where cows walk freely, gaze grass and drink fresh mountain water, – then the kaymak is truly Romanija’s kaymak.
Oh, it is hard to tell everything , but much harder to do it! And there is no wonder that a kilogram of skorup costs as much as a kilogram of the best honey.
And thus, it can be concluded that Dusanka gained a fortune by making skorup and kaymak for years?
– Absolutely not! You can not make a living just from this job, although I sell all my kaymak from my doorstep. I could sell even more, if I had. But from my cows I get 40 to 50 l of milk a day ,which is enoug for, approximatelly ,a kilo of skorup – Dusanka explained.
Dusanka adds that kaymak can be made only between May and October . She sells two thirds of it to dairy – it is necessary to provide regular income for family.
And their family isn’t small. This hardworking woman and her husband raised four children. Their first daughter Milka is a lawyer and lives in Banja Luka. The second daughter Milica is a forestry engineer,and their brother Miljan, Dusanka’s only son, is about to become one as well – he is senior student at Faculty of Forestry. The youngest daughter Milica, is at Pharmaceutical school.
– I finished High school and I am a wood processing technician, but I got married young so I never worked in wood industry. I was a good pupil, I wanted to study on faculty , but I couldn’t because there was no enogh money. So I worked hard to give that chance to my children. And they used that chance. They were all good pupils and students , even though they worked hard on our manor – the proud mother said.
And there is a lot of work on our manor, for every member of our family. Winters on Romanija are sharp, so we need to provide enough kaymak, food, fat, bacon , pork cracklings and loads of firewood.
– We need to prepare untill Djurdjevdan (St. Gerorge’s Day, 6th May), so we can, as hajduks did once, go to meadows – Dusanka jokes.
With all her obligations as a mother and housewife, this energic woman together with her friends from villages of municipality of Sokolac, Han Pijesak, and Rogatica ,has fought for 15 years for the brending of Romanija’s skorup. They founded their Association , they travelled to fairs and seminars and listened to comments such as : that is worthless.
But they did not give up. They succeeded.
– Now we strive for standardization , which means that product of every member of Association must have the same taste , same degree of fat, salinity and acidity. In that way, our customers, when they buy our cream, know in advance what will they get – said Dusanka for Srpskainfo.
In this fight for branding of the product women from Romanija had help from international organizations and associations from neighboring countries and from the Municipality of Sokolac. The Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Srpska helped them the most , especially with the project.
– That is how it goes. We make skorup, and they make projects. Everyone is doing their job – said Dusanka.