Region: Eastern Europe
Family: Pasta filata
Fat content: 32%
Flavour: nutty, salty
Synonyms: kasseri, cascaval, kashkawan, Ksara
Alternative spellings: Kashkaval vitosha, Kashkaval balkan, Kashkaval preslav, Kaval
Kashkaval is a semi-hard, yellow cheese that derives its name from the Italian cheese "Caciocavallo". It is particularly popular in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region.
Kashkaval made from cow's milk is known as Kashkaval Vitosha while a cheese made from ewe's milk is called Kashkaval Balkan. Kashkaval Preslav is the name given to the cheese made from a mixture of ewe's and cow's milk. In Romania, Bulgaria, and Macedonia, Kashkaval used as a generic term for all kinds of yellow cheeses. This cheese is also found in Hungary, Croatia, and Turkey. The Romanians call this cheese Cascaval, the Greeks Kasseri, while the Turkish prefer to interpret it as Ksara.
The cheese is allowed to age for six months, during which it develops a piquant, spicy and somewhat salty taste with a slight hint of olive oil. Due to its similarity in taste with the United Kingdom's Cheddar cheese, it is famously called the "Cheddar cheese of the Balkans". Kashkaval belongs to the family of pasta filata cheese that is made by giving the curd a hot bath during the production process.
The slightly hard texture of this table cheese makes it suitable for grilling and grating. It is used in salads, appetizers, pizzas, and lasagna.