Cheese of the month June 2013: Amour rouge from Käserei Zurwies, Allgäu

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The Allgäu region down in the south of Germany, that means mountains and therefore mountain cheese, right? Well, not necessarily. Because not far from the pittoresque town of Wangen, Anton Holzinger together with his daughter Luise runs the state-of-the-art Zurwies dairy, where they produce almost exclusively soft cheese.

Amour rougeAnton not only loves the good life including many things French, he is also a down to earth pragmatic. Therefore his cheese babies carry French names (which for a lot of Germans still sounds more posh and justifies a higher price). My cheese of the month is Amour rouge, red love. At least that’s what it’s called at the cheese counter around the corner from where I live. At the dairy it’s known as Antons Liebe, rot, Anton’s love, red. Nonregarding these slightly confusing but minor details, it represents a very successful balance of creamy opulence (yes, some cream does find its way into the vat with the milk when they make it), a light acidity so that the richness isn’t too overwhelming, and the intensely aromatic washed (red) rind.

This rind also represents its link to Allgäu cheese traditions: Backsteinkäse, literally brickstone cheeses, is made in a somewhat similar way. But it tends to be a much more rustic affair, rarely sporting such a fine white yeasty veil, and can be much more demanding on the olfactory system – che puzzo, what a stinker, my Italian sister in law would put it quite blandly… Amour rouge fits perfectly into early summer, when outside temperatures aren’t yet so extreme that anything beyond salad and fruit feels way too much and way too heavy, at least before sunset. So get that love – and if it happens to be less beautifully mature than the one pictured (I apologize for the out-of-focus picture – before I noticed, this little bit of love was gone…), somewhere not too cold in the fridge or cellar combined with a few days of patience should do the trick. If only life was always so easy!

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