This cow milk cheese originates from the mountainous northern region of Montenegro, and specifically the areas of Vasojevici, Kolasin and Bijelo Polje.
The local women sustain that only there, due to the climatic factors and characteristics of the pastures, can this type of cheese be obtained. It is made in thin layers, so thin that it is sometimes called kartika, like rolling papers for making cigarettes. The name lisnati means “in sheets”.
Many have tried to transcribe the exact production process, but since each housewife makes it differently, this turned out to be an almost impossible task, making it even more worthy of protection. Considering the high depopulation level of mountain areas in Montenegro, it has become rarer, and is limited to the family environment.
Around 10 liters of milk are needed to make 1 kg of this cheese. Since it is low in fat (the raw milk obtained in this area contains an average of 2.39% fat), it is difficult to store for a long time; it lasts for a maximum of 15-20 days.
It is obtained by first skimming and then souring the milk to which fresh raw milk is added in a proportion of 1 to 1 and 10-15% of water. It is mixed well for a few minutes and then heated to 38-42°C. At this point the rennet is added. Coagulation lasts a full half an hour. The curd is then cut into four parts and left to ripen for 15-30 minutes at a constant temperature of 40°. The curd is then pressed on wooden boards under the weight of a heavy stone.
Its taste is similar to mozzarella but it has a more decisive character.
Lisnati is eaten with vegetables and meat, as a side dish, or as an ingredient of traditional dishes (kacamak and cicvara)