The cheese of the month for April 2020 is: Weißer Bollheimer from Haus Bollheim in Zülpich-Oberelvenich

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Normally… yet another “normally” due to the pandemic! Normally I had intended to offer you this little jewel after having paid a visit to the cows and their cheesemaker. But who knows when this might be, and as we are currently finding out how much is possible (or has to be made possible) virtually: to widen your cheese horizons, here is Weißer Bollheimer. Anyhow. Because life needs to go on.

I had heard about Haus Bollheim but their cheeses weren’t really on my radar. Then I went to see Sabine Jürß and her Scellebelle goats (finally), and when we were tasting her cheese (equally superb, have a look in the current issue of Effilee magazine), she put this white beauty in front of me: “You have to taste this, Olaf makes really good cheese.” True. And: that’s what collegiality looks like.

At Haus Bollheim they’ve been farming biodynamically since 2002. The reigning idea is (I more or less quote from the immensely interesting Bollheim letters) more of a life plan than constant business optimisation. There are 70 red and white dairy cows, and chickens, and fields with vegetables and flowers, corn and potatoes; besides the dairy they operate a bakery, a farm shop, a café… which at least in my case all adds up – normally (that word again) – to the urgent desire to move to Zülpich-Oberelvenich and immediately join the ranks of regular Bollheim customers! Or at least to Cologne…

How does it taste, you’re asking, this small round white guy with the bloomy rind? Those who had made it to the last Heinzelcheesetalk at Markthalle Neun (I agree, it feels like ages ago, in a different life, but actually only a month ago) might recall that dense and (here this much over-used word is absolutely in order) creamy delight, the opulence, especially in its butter-like core, dancing to the tune of a lovely and lively acidity. It paired beautifully with Alexander Gysler’s Sternenglanz Pinot Blanc. The wheel shown here has been resting and maturing since then in my fridge. This added a very subtle and elegant bitter note from the rind to the paste’s creaminess, and changed the aroma from fresh mushrooms to ammoniac. A grown-up cheese.

Please keep safe, so that we can at some point, who knows when but hopefully soon, and without that “normally”, taste this and other cheeses together, not virtually, but in real time and space.

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