June 4, 2023


Be Inspired By Food

A Brief History of Austrian Cheese

A Brief History of Austrian Cheese

We have teamed up with Europe Residence of Cheese: Austrian Cheese to share all the beauty—and allll the cheese—that Austria has to offer. Austria’s mountainous landscape is property to 100% GMO-totally free dairy manufacturing, which can make for some really iconic and undeniably tasty curds.

Austria is acknowledged for several things—Mozart, meticulously crafted cakes, hills so beautiful they make Julie Andrews burst into track. On the other hand, one particular of the country’s accurate concealed gems is its cheese society. Inspite of the recognition of neighboring alpine cheesemaking locations, Austrian cheese wasn’t available in other European countries until eventually the 1990s, and didn’t appear to the U.S. right up until not too long ago. For hundreds of years, the only way to try out Austria’s one of a kind, flavorful cheeses was to go to Austria. The good news is for us all, that is beginning to modify.

Cow Region

In Austria, cheese is a way of lifetime. 3-quarters of the region is rugged mountain terrain which is difficult for increasing crops, but great for alpine dairy farming. In this gorgeous landscape, compact herds of native alpine cows munch clover, dandelion, meadowsweet, marigold, thistle, and the countless other wild herbs and grasses that blanket the idyllic alpine pastureland. And as if that’s not bucolic more than enough, they also quench their thirst with snow soften from clear mountain streams. Respect for these cows operates so deep in Austrian lifestyle, they basically toss them a celebration to welcome them dwelling from higher mountain pastures every fall—it’s termed Almabtrieb, and the animals dress in flower crowns and bells for it.

“[It’s] a vibrant and stunning tribute,” says Sarah Mentin, who has attended several an Almabtrieb and works for Alma, an Austrian dairy cooperative. Mentin states every farmer has all around 20 cows, and thinks of them as loved ones. The milk from these cows is pooled at local dairy co-ops that renovate it into cheese, otherwise it’s produced into younger wheels by the farmers by themselves. They do so in mountain chalets known as Berghütte, where curd is cooked in copper kettles above fires manufactured with fresh-chopped wood to coax out flavors of brown butter and toasted nuts. Wheels are then aged on spruce shelves in centuries-outdated ripening cellars, in a hyper-neighborhood creation line that is as sustainable right now as it has been for hundreds of years.

A Tale of Curds Previous

In simple fact, Austrian cheese is older than Austria alone. Their mountain cheeses descend from caseus alpinus, developed below Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charlemagne in the ninth century. Even in advance of the Romans arrived to the area, itinerant wanderers have been crafting bitter milk cheeses like Tyrolean Gray Cheese (or Tiroler Graukäse), Glundner Käse, Montafoner Sura Käse, Ennstaler Steirerkäse, Murtaler Steirerkäse, and several others as considerably back again as the Stone Age.

This record has led to a range of styles—450 versions, give or take—and the names can get confusing. It aids to know that Austrians converse German, and in German “käse” interprets to “cheese,” “berg” to “mountain,” and “alp” or “alm” to “mountain pasture.” The cheeses also generally acquire on the title of a region—popular wheels of Vorarlberg Bergkäse PDO and Alpkäse, for illustration, arrive from the Vorarlberg mountains. Every single region’s unique terroir provides its cheeses their individual flavor of spot. Significantly like wine, inputs like weather, h2o, plant lifetime, and even geological makeup in Austria make flavors fully expressive of the land.

And it is not just challenging mountain cheeses—Austria also produces comfortable wheels that fluctuate from delicate bloomy rinds to pungent washed ones, and date back again to when monasteries peppered the hillsides. There are blues, far too, and medium-business wheels that are known for their smooth paste and substantial Emmentaler-like eye holes. No subject the style, they’re all produced with utmost regard for the land (Austria’s 6.9 million acres of agricultural land are all GMO-absolutely free), using recipes passed down by generations of family-owned functions.

The resulting cheese society is robust. Every single Austrian city has cheese stores, from Jumi Käse in Vienna to Kaslochl in Salzburg, and most grocery outlets have cheese counters. In Vorarlberg, there’s even a KäseStrasse (Cheese Road), recognised for creating 60 cheese varieties in 17 valley dairies and 90 alpine farmsteads.

Austrian Cheese in the Kitchen area

So what do Austrians do with all this cheese? Properly, like any proud alpine dweller, they make fondue. But they also craft dishes like Käsespätzle (think: Austrian micro mac & cheese), Käseknödel (cheese dumplings), and Palatschinken (cheese pancakes), which Mentin states are well-known in homes throughout the region. Austrians even make their individual edition of cheese plates, termed Kalte Platten or Bretteljausen, accented by brown bread and wursts (sausages) of forest game meat.

These cheeses are lastly creating their way into kitchens overseas, far too. They’re environment-course melters, perfect for grilled cheeses, tacky pastas, dips, egg dishes, and tarts both of those sweet and savory. They are rapid pals with zippy Austrian wines like Grüner Veltliner, or Bavarian brews like Weizenbier, Helles and Vienna lagers, and bocks. And they are good for snacking—you never require a great deal a lot more than an apple and a crusty piece of bread to appreciate them. No make a difference how you pick out to welcome this uncommon treat into your kitchen, you’re guaranteed an eye-opening style of Austria’s gorgeous land and loaded heritage in every single bite.

What’s your beloved form of cheese from Austria? Notify us in the comments beneath!

Our good friends at Europe Residence of Cheese: Austrian Cheese are spreading the word on curds manufactured in this stunning alpine setting. Cheesemaking in Austria is sustainable by mother nature thanks to the region’s purely natural means, making certain the hundreds of years-aged artisanal techniques can continue—and that the herds of content cows can keep on to be, perfectly, satisfied.

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