January. A new year. The old one much celebrated, recently. Which is why this cheese of the month is not only a teeny bit late in the coming but also a rather quiet, modest, yet totally delicious brick. Bauernkäse means farmer’s cheese, and it’s not to be confused with what most Americans think that is (and which it is not, not quark, I mean), and it doesn’t of course tell you anything about the cheese.
Which takes the idea of that beacon of northern German cheese tradition, Tilsiter, joyfully plays with it, keeps the discreet acidity and the seductive, totally more-ish buttery elastic texture, but tosses out the smeary, aromatic to stinky exterior. No, it definitely wants to be a little sweeter than that! And a great idea that is. I have no clue at all if this is due to its maker’s character, or the undoubtedly idyllic surroundings of the Schaalsee, a lake and biosphere reserve halfway between Hamburg and Berlin, or the cranes you can watch there, those super elegant gliders… Because, full disclosure, I’ve never been at Kranichhof. Which brings me back to January: this cheese stands for my new year’s resolution #1, to visit more cheesemakers! And with that, Heinzelcheese wishes you all, dear friends, followers and readers, a year full of surprises and wonder, much good wine to drink, always enough cheese and above all wonderful people to share it all with. Cheesio!
PS For those of you who are lucky enough to live in Berlin: Schaalseer Bauernkäse is available at Knippenbergs.