We might occasionally act sheepish, and sometimes we are real cowards… but can we really taste the difference between different kinds of milk? Dear HeinzelCheeseTalk family (yes, you are my family, and my bestest wishes to you all for this new year – hope you had some more than decent cheese to start with and a good drop with that!) – it was a pleasure to look at some basics with you.
For most of us, cow’s milk is the norm, and when a cheese tastes a little stronger or in any way unusual, we quite quickly utter the word “goat”. However, I remember a cheese maker’s comment (who worked with sheep’s milk), for whom a cheese tasted “so strongly of cow’s milk”…This is what we explored together.
First in the form of milk. Cow’s non-homogenized, with a sweet little tang, goat’s (unfortunately as UHT) much saltier und a little harsh, fresh regional buffalo’s opulent and creamy. Then: yogurt. The Lobetaler’s cow’s very tangy, sheep’s and goat’s from Austrian Leeb quite savoury, whereas buffalo’s again was the richest and cleanest tasting. Obvious, my dear Watson in cheese – whereas cow’s natural fat content (on average!) is somewhere around 3.8%, goat’s milk comes in way below, sheep’s way above (and the latter with significant seasonal variation), whereas buffalo’s beats them all. There the milk label said “min. 6.8%”, but above 7% is not unusual at all. And with the fat come all the other components…
This difference was also very obvious when we compared the artisanal butter from Hittisau/Bregenzerwald with Bartoli’s burro di bufala – the former all yellow and rich due to the hay feed, the latter of an alabaster-like, transparent white, and with all those fine floral aromas you find in really good mozzarella di bufala. Because if one thing became clear during this Heinzelcheesetalk, it was this: cow’s milk can’t give you the same cheese as buffalo’s milk, no matter what you do. As for cheese we had several kinds of hard cheese that showed the difference in color and richness, and how significant the impact of the cheesemaking recipe is, beyond the kind of milk used.
And of course we had wine! You liked both of the dry Rieslings, the 2013 stony, ascetic and yet elegant La Roche from Weingut Bäder/Rheinhessen, and the somewhat rounder 2012 St Remigiusberg from Tesch/Nahe. However the evening’s surprise came in form of a young, lively (and refreshingly unpretentious) Spätburgunder (aka Pinot Noir) Wernher had brought (thank you!), from Weingut Julius/Rheinhessen – somebody at the table particularly enjoyed it paired with yogurt. Finally, not in this picture (pictures on this website leave much to be desired anyhow, I know) but nonetheless enjoyed with great gusto: 2013 Gewurztraminer feinherb from Weingut Geil in Bechtheim/Rheinhessen – YES and cheesio to that. See you all soon!
HeinzelCheeseTalks take place regularly, usually on a Friday at 6pm at Markthalle Neun in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I bring some interesting cheese, open a few bottles of wine, and we sit around the large table opposite the Suff wine stall, tasting, drinking, talking, discussing (mostly in German – but we usually manage to cater to English speakers too). Invites are sent out about ten days before we meet, to a mailing list you can join here. Reservations need to be confirmed and are strictly by first come first serve – so be quick! And please do let me know if you can’t make it after all – there is always a waiting list. A donation of ten euros per person (or one or two euros more if you really had a lot of fun…) is much appreciated. Cheesio!