Bryndza is a sheep milk cheese made in Central and Eastern Europe. Recipes differ slightly across the countries.
Brânză or brînză (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈbrɨnzə]) is the generic word for "cheese" in Romanian, there is no special type of cheese associated with it. It is a word presumably inherited by the Romanian language from Dacian, the language of the pre-Roman population in the actual Romania (see also List of Romanian words of possible Dacian origin). The word was first recorded as brençe in the Croatian port of Dubrovnik in 1370. Today, "bryndza", a word descended from the Romanian root, is used in various countries throughout the CEE region such as Slovakia or Poland, due to its introduction by migrating Vlachs (see below). In contrast to the original Romanian word, it is exclusively used for the one type of soft crumbly cheese described above.
Bryndza Podhalańska from Poland was granted a protected designation of origin in June 2007. The geographical indication was requested in September 2006.
Slovenská bryndza from Slovakia was granted a protected geographical indication in July 2008. The geographical indication was requested in October 2007.
Bryndza probably came to Slovakia in the course of the settling of northern Slovakia by the Vlachs from the 14th century to the 17th century (see also Moravian Wallachia). Ján Vagač started to produce the local variety of Slovenská bryndza and in 1787 he founded the first factory for producing the cheese in Detva. Today, around 4,000 tons of bryndza are produced in Slovakia annually.
Bryndza is an essential ingredient for the traditional Slovak dishes bryndzové pirohy and bryndzové halušky.