In August of 2023, Antonelli's Cheese Club Members got to travel to Germany! A long awaited country for our "Taste of Place" theme for our Cheese Club. We send out a uniquely themed box each month, relating to terroir, cheese history, and celebrations of cheesemakers or producers - become a member before the final day of the current month to get the next month's box at your very own door.
Click Here to Learn More or Join Today! Read on to learn about the cheeses and producer our Club Members will enjoy this month!
When we begin to unpack the realm of European cheeses in our mind’s eye, of course Italy & France are eager to jump to the front, however Germany presents a truly fascinating microcosm of the cheese world itself. Much like Spain, ‘life happened’ to Germany during years when other EU cheese giants were perfecting – and name-protecting – their cheeses. Although many Germans may point out that all’s well that ends well (Germany is solidly the number one global exporter of cheese, and the second-place producer worldwide, behind the United States), artisan cheesemaking is mounting a spirited reemergence after decades of being back-burnered. Case in point: even an experienced cheesemonger would be hard-pressed to name a clear, singular cheese that Germans uniformly regard as a facet of their national identity. Regardless, since the 1980s, oodles of small artisan cheesemakers, many organic, have scrappily hewn new pathways toward actualizing artfully aged (and raw milk) cheeses. Bavaria’s Allgäu, the verdant Alpine region of southwest Germany, makes spectacular milk for cheesemaking, and 70% of the country’s production takes place there. Since it’s historically the place to look for Germany’s finest cheeses, we are taking you there for a cheese-y Summer virtual vacation! Willkommen – Lasst uns anfangen (let’s get to it)!
1. Rougette from Kaserei Champignon of Lauben, Allgäu, Germany (Bloomy-rind, Cow)
Hailing from the charmingly picturesque village of Lauben in the Allgäu, Rougette Bavarian Red is a creamy, soft cheese made by Käserei Champignon. Lent by paprika extract within its rind, Rougette bears distinctive orangey-red colors evocative of crisp, early morning sunbeams. However, mild peripheral notes of ‘seasoning’ lent by the paprika-rubbed rind cannot touch the primary vibe of Rougette: this is your excuse to essentially ‘eat butter,’ sans guilt. Fine Bavarian cow milk & cream elevate this brie-style cheese to triple-creme territory, as increasingly finely-spiced flavors culminate during ripening. Don’t be surprised when you find this gem to be on the milder side, as its dense creaminess tempers more robust flavors and aromatics typical of washed rind-reminiscent cheeses.
Pairings: Savor this creamy butter bomb with pours of Naia Verdejo, the kind of white Summer days sing a siren song for. The color of golden straw, its complex nose of vibrant peachy & citric aromas – followed by a whiff of fennel – signals a luscious, long finish. For a picture perfect bite, top Rougette with a spoon of Sallie’s Greatest Peach Pepper & Ginger Jam!
2. Fruity Franzle from Franz Berchtold of Bio-Käserei Wiggensbach, Germany (Firm, Cow)
Another beauty coming to our boards from the cheese-cultured Allgäu region of Germany’s southlands, Fruity Franzle is made by Franz Berchtold at Bio-Käserei in the hillside town of Wiggensbach. The cheekily named Fruity Franzle is also a nod to the apple orchards that surround the creamery, as it is aged & washed in apple cider for up to three months. Utilizing apples grown on the same land as the cows are milked really takes “farmstead” cheesemaking to a whole ‘nother level! And thanks to this supremely rich milk, a texture develops that is densely palate-coating, while a blast of acidity from the apple cider wash balances the bite. Spend a few seconds meditating on apple aromatics emanating from the rosy-hued rind, and envision yourself in this serene Bavarian scene…and you’re ready to dive in!
Pairings: Perfect with most any bubbly beverage – which keep the palate refreshed between bites – try Fruity Franzle with your favorite Bavarian beer, sparkling water or dry cider. Unleash a single-varietal Blackberry Honey Stick from Ashland County, Ohio’s Ebee Honey for an Insta-worthy situation!
3. Alpengouda from Hofkäserei Kraus of Ebersbach, Germany (Firm, Cow)
A serendipitous collaboration between Hofkäserei Kraus’ Albert Kraus, affineur Norbert Sieghart, and Columbia Cheese, Alpengouda delivers the most tantalizing aspects of the Allgäu to lucky caseophiles across the USA. With raw cow milk from his brother's Braunvieh herd, Albert has mastered a cheese that is an evocative fusion between dense Alpine styles and the smoothest of goudas. During four months of affinage (ripening), Alpengouda’s center paste remains remarkably creamy in its firmness, revealing nutty & savory facets of Alpine cheeses alongside the sweetness of gouda – all from a bedrock of butteriness. Known to Germans as a fantastic melter, Alpengouda does double duty, begging for repeat tastes from your cheese plate, or melted into a decadent recipe.
Pairings: With Alpengouda comes the intuition: it’s Rosé time! From the Mediterranean coast of France, we present the summer-simple Château Les Mesclances "Charmes" Rosé Méditerranée, a nuanced symphony of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and rare Tibouren grapes. Bright, crisp, and non-fussy – it’s everything to love about Summer.
4. Blaubluter from David Tschugg of Bio-Käserei Wiggensbach, Germany (Blue, Cow)
Succinctly summing up his life’s work as a “bacteria shepherd,” Wiggenbach’s David Tschugg is a bon vivant of a cheesemaker – who also happens to own a nearby three-century-old vaulted affinage cellar called D’r Senn. Once he’d learned his craft (and following a walkabout making cheese in Australia), David returned to Germany and set focus on creating an original recipe blue – and so Blaublüter was conceived. Based on another of his creations, Red Cassanova, the first sale of Blaublüter was to a Bavarian prince, which explains the translation: “blue bloods.” Thanks to the addition of pure cream, Blaublüter yields a dense, fudgy texture after three months in the caves of D’r Senn. Notes of sweet cream & butter smooth out any too-sharp ‘blue’ notes, resulting in an exceptionally balanced blue.
Pairings: For a dessert bite that leans savory over cloying, place a crumble of Blaublüter over a mini-toast (brought to you from France’s Divina) – and drape with a slice of Elevation Meats Mole Salami. Again, Mesclances "Charmes" Rosé Méditerranée is the ideal Summer wash-down for these languid days, and Blaublüter would love an invite to this soirée!