I·ATE: Urdă, вурда, queso fresco, paneer, cottage cheese!


This week we have chosen a cheesy food term of the week… urdă! Common in the Balkans, urdă is a type of whey cheese that seems to have its origins in Romania, Serbia, Macedonia and Hungary, but which can also be found in Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia and Bulgaria under the same name. This kind of cheese is made from whey of sheep, goat or cow milk.


Urdă is a type of white granulated cheese, dry and with an easy taste and unique fresh flavour. It is obtained by mixing the whey (zer) resulting from the production of another Romanian cheese (caș) with fresh milk. Urdă cheese can also be salty or sweet; in fact when kept in brine, the cheese turns into telemea or feta cheese after 2-3 weeks.

In Romania, urdă is used to prepare different desserts, such as plăncintă (plancinta)/pie and clătită (clatita)/pancake. There are several traditional recipes in Romania that use urdă, such as pirogi or colțunași (coltzunashi), a pie with urdă and cow cheese or a pie with urdă and dill or rolls with urdă. The pie with urdă and dill is made with flour, margarine, sugar, yolks, sour cream, baking powder and lemon, and for the stuffing we use urdă, sugar, eggs, griș (grish), vanilla sugar and dill. This dish is served for Easter, Christmas, feasts or during sad events as an alms gift or at the cemetery, together with other dishes like sweet bread and koliva.

Below is a list of cheeses that are similar to urdă:

Bulgaria: урда (vurda), извара (izvara)

France: fromage à pâte fraîche / fromage blanc/ faisselle

Germany: Frischkäse / Molkenkäse

Greece: αnthalyro / mizithrα

Hungary: orda, zsendice

India: paneer (पनीर)

Italy: ricotta

Macedonia: урда (urda)

Portugal: requeijão

Romania: urdă

Serbia: вурда (vurda)

Spain: queso fresco

Ukraine: вурда (vurda)

United Kingdom: cottage cheese

Paneer cheese (India)
Queso fresco (Spain)

αnthalyro/mizithrα (Greece)

In Serbia, for example, вурда is a similar cheese prepared especially in the Southern region of Pirot. Another ‘cousin’ to Romanian urdă is cottage cheese, very popular in the United Kingdom. In Italy we also find a similar type of cheese, ricotta. Ricotta can be traced back to the Bronze Age and is often represented in paintings and literature as the type of cheese consumed only by the aristocracy of the ancient Rome. In Portugal we can find requeijão, which is also common in Brazil. The production process of requeijão is similar to that of ricotta and it is often described as the Hispanic version of ricotta cheese. Requeijão is creamier and it can be used in salads, pasta, Mexican enchiladas and desserts. In Spain they have queso fresco, which is usually used as a dessert and served with honey or membrillo (quince cheese). France, the cheese-loving land par excellence, also has fromage à pâte fraîche, fromage blanc and faisselle. Even if we travel as far as India we can find paneer (पनीर), a type of cheese very similar to Spanish queso fresco but that is often used to cook spinach or peas and can also found in Pakistani cuisine.

We are surely missing many urdă’s sisters & brothers, let us know in the comments below! If you are interested, you can also read about cheese pies in our previous post: I·ATE: Say “cheese”: discover Bulgarian “banitza” and Greek “tyropita”!

Written by Ioana Alexandra Mancaș. Ioana graduated in Psychology and German/English Language and Literature in Romania, at the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University from Iași. She is currently a student of the Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts and has been a study visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. Ioana is also a writer of haiku poems and poems without rhyme in several languages, such as Romanian, German, Spanish, English with some fragments written in Polish, Latin, and Russian.

Post edited and prepared by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.


  • Cheese.com (n.d.) Requesón. Available at: http://bit.ly/2sU7yXL (Accessed 30 June 2017)
  • Realitatea.NET (2016) “Rețeta colțunași cu branză: cum prepari “piroște moldovenești”, Realitatea.NET. Available at: http://bit.ly/2uy9oiQ (Accessed 30 June 2017)
  • PetitChef (2012) “Plăcintă cu urdă și brânză de vaci”, PetitChef. Available at: http://bit.ly/2sU5AGC (Accessed 30 June 2017)
  • Rețete culinare de la A la Z (2017) “Sarmale în frunze de ștevie cu urdă”, Rețete culinare de la A la Z. Available at: http://bit.ly/2toCbrJ (Accessed 30 June 2017)