Savo in the heart of Morina makes cheese from the bellows: the people of Mostar also buy it

“People who buy cheese from me are my regular customers, and there is hardly a day during the summer that someone doesn’t come to buy cheese,” says Savo.

Savo Spremo found his peace on the slopes of the Morine mountain pass, where he spends four months a year looking after sheep and making a living. Namely, the Morina Pass, which leaves every passerby breathless with its beauty and nature, is located on the road between Nevesinje and Kalinovik, at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, and that is precisely why this area is called Herzegovina’s Tibet.

635 sheep and several cows 

The team of “Nezavisne novina”, visiting this landscape, visited shepherd Sava, who has as many as 635 sheep and several cows in his flock. Savo chose to spend a few months a year in Morine in order to earn a living, because he makes traditional Herzegovinian mixed cheese, which attracts many customers with its taste.

Savo hosted them in his cabin with homemade brandy, which he produces himself in the countryside in Nevesinje, but also with traditional cheese from the bellows and prosciutto, so he began his story about his life on the mountain, which has been going on for 23 years. “Even 23 years ago, I decided to start this business together with my family. Then, together with my mother, father and sister, I came here and started doing this business. It was easy for us when we were all together, but then, unfortunately, my mother and father died, and my sister got married and I was left alone, but I didn’t give up,” says Savo. As he said, it was never easy, because the herd he has is big. “A few years ago, I offered a salary of 1,000 KM, but no one came to work. Now here with me is a shepherd who came recently, so he is helping me, because he has work to do,” said Savo.

Everything is milked by hand

  It takes several hours to milk him because he does everything by hand. “My working day starts at five in the morning and lasts until 11 pm. I milk the milk by hand, and there is enough of it, about 110 liters, and then after milking, I start making cheese, which takes several hours,” said Savo, adding that the cheese-making process goes through several stages. “The first stage is the milking of the milk, then the cheese is made, and after that the young cheese goes into a barrel and stands for a few days, that is, until the barrel is full enough for the mash, and it stays in the mash for a month or more, until it is ready for sale”, said Savo. As he adds, there are about 55 kilograms of cheese in one mixture at the very beginning, but considering the tempering, about 45 kilograms remain at the end.

Regular customers

  “I make cheese bags by hand from lambskin, and one is enough to hold up to 45 kilograms. The people who buy cheese from me are my regular customers, and there is hardly a day during the summer that someone does not come to buy cheese”, says Savo, adding that the majority of customers are from Nevesinje, Kalinovik and Mostar. Savo told them that several times his flock was attacked by a wolf, which slaughtered several of his sheep. “There are wolves and bears here, several times a wolf came through my corral and slaughtered young sheep and lambs,” said Savo.

There is no electricity on this pass, so Savo found a replacement for electricity in the solar panels he installed on his hut, thanks to which he has electricity, and he catches the signal for the phone by hanging it on a pole on a small hill near the hut. “I bought one panel a few years ago, while the other was donated, they came in handy because without them I certainly wouldn’t have electricity. It’s a little more difficult with the phone signal because there is none, but when I hang the phone on the pole and turn up the volume, then I hear when one of the customers calls me,” said Savo. Savo concludes his story with the words that this job is very difficult, but it is worth it.