Cheesemaker visits to Kaeskuche Isny and Sennerei Zurwies, Bavaria
Continuing on the Bavarian and Austrian cheesemaker visits, we stopped by two very different cheesemaking dairies, Kaeskuche Isny and Sennerei Zurwies.
Kaeskuche Isny - Isny im Allgäu
Located in south-eastern Baden-Württemberg, Kaeskuche Isny was founded in 1998 by a group of ecologically-minded dairy farmers with a view to providing a consistent market for their milk as well as the opportunity to showcase its high quality by converting it into cheese.
The farmers formed a co-operative and hired cheesemaker Evelyn Wild to manage and run the dairy. The dairy has proved to be such a success under Evelyn’s management that she has now hired an additional full time cheesemaker, Simon, to focus on production, allowing her to focus on other aspects of the business. Simon was brought up and trained as a cheesemaker in Switzerland.
The dairy currently buys in 800,000 liters (211,337 US gallons) of milk from nine farms and makes about 65,000 kg (143,000 lbs) of cheese.
Kaeskuche Isny produces eight different cheeses, including Bockshornklee and Sternschluppe. However, their signature cheese being Adelegger Urburger, a 7 kg (15.5 lb) firm-textured mountain cheese with a dark brown rind that's washed and brushed with brine and wine. The cheese is sold at three different ages of maturity.
On our visit, we tasted through several batches in the search for the best one to take to the Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra and finally selected one made in May 2010, which had a beautiful, full-bodied balance of flavors with great complexity and a long finish.
Located in the tiny hamlet of Zurweis in Bavaria, Senneri Zurwies is an organic co-operative dairy founded in 1991 by two progressive cheesemakers, Anton Holzinger and Richard Kurzweil.
The dairy was the first co-operative cheesemaking operation in Germany to specialize in soft cheese production and, in processing 1.4 million liters (369,840 US gallons), is still one of the smaller cooperatives in the country.
Under the guidance of Holzinger and head cheesemaker Marco, the company produces an extensive range of soft cheeses from organic milk collected from 13 local farmers that, upon its arrival at the dairy, is pasteurized for production.
Known for his innovative streak, Holzinger has successfully developed many of his own cheese recipes as well as drawing inspiration from other more traditional varieties and giving them their own identity.
One of the most popular is his Limburger, which is completely different from its American cousin.
Holzinger’s version is gently pungent and has a soft, unctious texture that melts in the mouth accompanied by subtle flavors of cream, earth and mushrooms.
On the day we visited, we were shown around the dairy by Marco, who also introduced us to Anton’s newest experiment; a blue cheese based on a Roquefort recipe and although it was only ten days old when we saw it, already showing promise.