Of course, the best way to get to know Sõir cheese is by tasting it, but on our website, you'll find clues to determine if Sõir is the right choice for your palate in advance.

Is Sõir cheese the right fit for you? Keep reading and you'll find out.

Maybe until now you were unaware of the existence of Sõir cheese. Or perhaps you've sought it out because Sõir is your favorite. Either way, we provide plenty of information about this cheese here so you can get to know it better.


The cheese Sõir is a traditional soft cheese originating from Setomaa, a small region located between southeast Estonia and northwest Russia. Setomaa, also known as the land of hedges, is situated next to Lake Peipus, between southeast Estonia and the northwest of Pskov Oblast in the Russian Federation. This region is approximately 300 km northwest of the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, and 1000 kilometers east of Moscow, the capital of Russia.

Setomaa: A Region of Cultural Diversity

Setomaa is home to the Seto people, an ethnic minority fighting to preserve their ancient customs and beliefs. Unlike the majority of Estonians, the Setos have their own language/dialect and identify themselves as Orthodox Christians. The region is characterized by its unique position at the border of Estonia and Russia, bridging the gap between Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism, as well as between the East and the West.

The Famous Sõir Cheese

One of the most renowned dishes of the Seto people is Sõir, a non-pasteurized cottage cheese that graces every party table in Setomaa. The Setos have a saying: "Once you have Sõir, you will also have friends." This traditional soft cheese is flavored with caraway seeds and made from whole milk, cottage cheese, butter, eggs, salt, and caraway seeds. It is available plain or with raisins, both equally delightful.

Production Process of Sõir Cheese

In a nutshell, Sõir is a freshly pressed cottage cheese. Its main ingredients are milk and curdled milk. The process begins by heating the milk until the whey separates. The curds are then drained and mixed with a little melted butter, beaten eggs, salt, and caraway seeds, if desired. The mixture is stirred and poured into a mold to cool. The final result is a dense and pleasant-textured cheese with a slightly chewy and viscous consistency.

Sõir: A Unique Culinary Delight

Is Sõir similar to German Handkäse or Polish Wielkopolski fried cheese? It is a dish in its own right: an appetizer, a finishing plate, just as fine blue cheeses are served after a meal or as an appetizer in a varied mix. It is typically enjoyed with bread or salted crackers. Butter, honey, or garlic sauce can be spread on Sõir. When combined with boiled potatoes, Sõir is commonly served for lunch or dinner, accompanied by a cold beer in the country. However, Sõir is not an everyday food but rather a festive and essential meal on any celebratory table.

Traditions and Occasions

Traditionally, Sõir is consumed around the bonfire during the Midsummer's Eve or St. John's Eve, known as Jaanituli. This cheese holds great cultural significance during this time of the year and is an integral part of the festivities. It represents the rich culinary heritage of the Seto people and adds a special touch to the celebration of the summer solstice.

Conclusion: Sõir is more than just a cheese. It symbolizes the cultural identity and culinary traditions of the Seto people. Whether enjoyed during festive occasions or as a delightful appetizer, Sõir brings people together, creating a unique and flavorful experience.

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