The cheese of the month for October 2019 is: Tak Kohaku from Akira Katayama in Itoshima/Japan

This a monthly series which I have been publishing for years. You can subscribe here, to get the latest cheese delivered directly on to your screen. 

The Heinzelcheese network is constantly expanding… no, I still haven’t been to Japan (actually I’ve been to Newfoundland, but more on that another cheese time). However, yesterday, my wonderful friend Serendipity surprised me with this soy-mash refined cheese from Itoshima – and obviously I’d like to share this with you! Even if only in words and pictures; due to the long distance travel it’s been a very small piece. Tak Kohaku is a semihard cheese that reminds me of Tilsiter or Havarti. But its very special aroma, soft and yet complex, makes me think of fermented black beans used in Chinese cuisine, as well as the very best, richest Sake wines…

My knowledge about Japanese cheese is limited. Until now I thought it was all happening on the most northern island, Hokkaido, with its more temperate, less humid climat, from where I’ve tasted truly great stuff. This cheese, made by Akira Katayama in Itoshima on Kyushu in the very southern part of Japan, from cow’s milk he buys from a farm in the neighbourhood, shows that there is so much more to discover! The small dairy only exists since a few years; Akira Katayama’s declared goal is to make „normal“ cheese for his neighbours, cheese that is an expression of the landscape, the mountains and the people. He learnt his craft on Hokkaido and in Denmark: Tak is Danish for „thank you“.

My thanks go to Tomoko Akashi and Walter Britz from Umami Japan Advisory, Serendipity’s helpers – and who knows, perhaps it won’t be long and we’ll see more Japanese cheese and cheesemakers here in Berlin. When the first little piece of Young Buck turned up out of the blue in 2015 not in my wildest dreams would I have thought Mike Thomson could turn into a regular at Cheese Berlin!

By the way, Cheese Berlin: 8-11 November! We’re super busy working it all out, and it will be truly exceptional, starting with the Cheese Night on Friday, with the Big Market and Heinzelcheesetalks on Sunday and the Trade Day on Monday (when the Markthalle will also house a Sake event!)… Heinzelcheese volunteers, PLEASE get in touch, you’re more than welcome – and as usual in return you’ll be on the guest list for the big Cheesemakers‘ Get Together on Saturday night. 感謝!

This a monthly series which I have been publishing for years. You can subscribe here, to get the latest cheese delivered directly on to your screen. 

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