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Bachenbruch, or more exactly Neubachenbruch, is a small village in Lower Saxony, halfway between Bremerhaven and Hamburg, where countless narrow channels and dams cut through the flat, boggy land and keep it dry, where in the fall the birch trunks’s silvery shine competes with apples‘ red one. I visited Catherine André years ago for my first cheese book, and that afternoon was one of the absolute highlights of my research. A bustling farm, two people who obviously had found their way of life – and expressive, good cheese made from raw milk.
That’s why I am always really happy to see Catherine André at events such as recently in May De Kees in Hamburg, her stall as well-stocked as usual – besides cheese there usually are small quiches and other baked goodies, and some charcuterie – and her joie de vivre and optimism unchanged. And yes, the cheese is equally consistent, very delicate and fine in texture, with strong taste: Catherine André likes mature cheese.
Hiob Schmitt I met for the first time in Hamburg, his cheese looked super professional and yet handmade, it really stood out. In 2017 he took over a small goat farm and dairy in Asendorf, a short hour’s drive south of Bremen with his partner Sophia Traut. They renamed it Die Ziegerei, the goatery, and milk around 80 animals. Like Catherine André they work the raw milk into cheeses that are by and large modelled on the French classics from the Loire valley such as Sainte Maure and Valençay. Equally fine in texture, stylistically the result is very different, a bit more on the quiet side, the acidity a tad more prominent.
I like both very much, and it’s more a question of which mood I’m in that decides which one of these gorgeous cheeses I prefer. Cheesio, my turophile friends!