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Milchzapfe

First was the idea. Then came a long phase of experimenting. And now we can enjoy a cheese that looks like a cured sausage

He loves all kinds of cured meats. So much, that he decided to create a cheese that looks just like a big link of salami. And the first sight makes clear: Cheese maker Roli Rüegg did a fantastic job.

No cheese is easy to make. Each craftsman will confirm that. But not all cheeses are identically tricky to produce. Roli Rüegg will insist on this fact. - First there is the problem with the shape. While most cheeses might be round, not many are cylindrical. So how does one get a sausage shaped cheese? Well, let’s put it this way: At birth, the Milchzapfe is a rectangle. On the second day it is pressed through a round tube, hand patted into its unique form and clad in a salami net. And this way it goes on a hook in the aging cellar, in order to mature and develop its beautiful rind.

Which leads to the next question: What does it take to create a rind that looks like the casing of a cured sausage? To put it roughly again: It takes a very specific bacterial flora. After many failures and lots of expensive pig feed, as he describes it, the young cheese maker finally found the perfect aging room: A natural argillite cave with naturally high humidity in the village of Saland. Over time this environment lets the cheese grow a thick, velvety, white to grayish rind.

Milchzapfe is made of raw cow milk and reaches its peak after about five months of aging. It is piquant in taste without being sharp or aggressive. The best way to enjoy this cheese is to put it - with the rind on - onto a Girolle and curl it into tiny rosettes, or to cut it paper thin on a meat slicer. Which will not surprise anybody…