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The humble cheese plate need not be so humble this holiday season with these special Austrian mountain cheeses. I was surprised to find out that Austria produces over 400(!) varieties of cheese, but oh-so-happy to expand my repertoire!
The Alp Blossom, which I cut into above, is easily one of the most beautiful and full-bodied hard cheeses you will try. It is coated in edible herbs and flowers from nearby Alpine meadows.
Although you can now find these cheeses worldwide, the milk and cheese remain quite small, often a family affair with milk pulled from small coops with an average herd size of only 15 dairy cows.
“Bergkäse”, which translates to mountain cheese, is a proud Austrian tradition. Mountain cheese refers to several varieties of cheese produced in the Alps, with a rather hard texture, quite strong in flavor and often a bit nutty. The small cheese producers utilize the same methods for generations, and all of the cheese produced in Austria is 100% GMO free.
If that sounds like something you would enjoy and you are a cheese lover like me, you must try the Tyrolean Grey Cheese, one of the oldest Austrian cheese varieties, or the Mountain Herbs Rebel (what a name!) which is bright and grassy.
It would be wonderful, once we are able to travel safely again, to go re-visit the mountains of Austria and nearby Bavaria to learn – and taste! – more about the cheeses and see those huge wheels in real life.