Syr and Sir

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

syr and sir are respectively the Russian and Serbo-Croat words for ‘cheese’, and form part of the names of some cheeses made in Russia, Yugoslavia, and elsewhere. For example, the Russians consume quantities of Edam-type Gollandsky syr (‘Dutch cheese’—Russian has no letter H).

More genuinely Russian or Soviet cheese names are usually place names. Well-known types are Moskovsky syr (from Moscow) and Altajsky syr (from the Altai)—both hard; Latvysky syr (from Latvia) and Volzhsky syr (from the Volga)—both surface ripened; Desertny syr, which is mould-ripened; Jerevansky syr and Cecîl—both ‘pickled’ cheeses. These are only a handful from a vast collection including many regional cheeses made on a small scale by herdsmen or on collective farms.