Last month we filled you in on the rise in popularity of donkey milk as a beauty elixir and nutritional supplement, which is being sold in 100ml cartons across Europe by Eurolactis for close to €4 a pop. Donkey milk, which is hypoallergenic and moisturising and therefore a cosmetic gem, is understandably pricey but the derivative product takes the biscuit.
A single farmer in Serbia, 50 miles outside of Belgrade, has seen an opportunity in the fact that great milk makes great cheese, producing the world’s first donkey cheese. The process is painstaking, with each of the donkeys being milked by hand three times a day. Donkeys naturally produce far less milk than cows and goats and 25 litres of this rare elixir makes just one kilo of donkey cheese.
Naturally, such labour intensive work produces a pricey end result. While the goat’s cheese equivalent sells for roughly €14 a kilo, donkey milk cheese has a gasp inducing price tag of over €1000, with a kilo weighing in at a cost of £880. Said to be similar in flavour and texture to sheep’s milk based manchego cheese, that is earthy, nutty and crumbly, it is unlikely we will be able to pick some up in our local cheese shop with an asking price of triple figures per chunk.
That said, donkey milk has attracted some famous fans throughout the years, from Hippocrates to Cleopatra, who was said to have bathed in it to soak up the beautifying properties. More recently, it is rumoured that tennis ace Novak Djokavic is embracing the produce of his homeland and has already bought up the entire supply of donkey cheese, or pule as it is known in his native Serbia.
With the rise of dairy intolerance and cult health products storming the market, a cheese produced from milk with 60 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk and only 1% fat could appeal to starlets and Instagram health gurus. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, it is doubtful we will get a taste of the prized fromage until donkey cheese-making becomes more mainstream…unless we book flights to visit Djokavic’s Belgrade restaurant Novak.