The cheese of the month for January 2022 is: Quark from Hof Marienhöhe in Bad Saarow

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A new year. Without any doubt as turbulent as the two previous ones. Even more important to stay firmly rooted, in touch with the ground and soil, in a literal as well as metaphorical sense. I am working on that every morning, at breakfast, and since long before this global mess started, by having Quark from Hof Marienhöhe, on dark, heavy bread, also well-grounded. To avoid being carried away by the daily news.

I’ve written repeatedly about Hof Marienhöhe in Bad Saarow, an hour’s drive to the southeast of Berlin, on Scharmützelsee. It’s hard to imagine being more in touch with the soil, and you can taste that in their vegetables, salads and herbs, as well as their milk, butter, cheese – and quark! On Saturday mornings, at Kreuzberg’s Chamissoplatz, the Marienhöhe folks offer their beautiful riches to Berliners. I used to only make it there sporadically, but now it’s become a biweekly ritual.

Main reason: Quark. So: an early rise, as it’s in high demand. Made from the raw, unheated milk of the estate’s sturdy, happy red Harz cattle, processed without much ado (and without a final stir to cream it up) by Katharina Goldammer in their shiny, orderly creamery. It exudes a beautiful, fundamental sour lactic smell that is much more complex than what is sold as quark elsewhere. I prefer it in the skimmed version. And of course, it’s also super tasty with green herbs, fruit, honey, or in cake. May this year allow us to always remain firmly rooted!

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