4 Peculiar cheeses you didn't know existed
the weirdest cheeses in the world made by small cheesemakers
Let's talk about cheese
When we look at cheesemaking and all the different types of cheeses you can find out there you’ll be surprised to discover that the steps cheesemakers follow to create most cheeses are very much alike. So, what are the elements that make cheese so peculiar and distinct from one to another?
The answer is simple: the aging process and the type of milk used.
We will leave the first element for future articles, here we are going to dive into the latter. You will discover that along with well-known animals such as cows, goats, and sheep, small cheesemakers are creating uncommon cheeses from milk-producing animals you may never have thought about.
Yak Cheese – Tibet
The Tibetan plateau is the highest and one of the most untouched areas in the world. Tibetan communities have been relying on yaks for the last two thousand years, placing yak milk as a key component of people’s diets.
This uncommon, yet magnificent species is capable of resisting extreme climate conditions and maintaining their milk supplies which are high in protein.
In some isolated villages cheesemaking starts almost as a joke. However, with the arrival of international NGO projects in the area aimed to help local communities, small cheese producers acquired the skills to improve their techniques and become more serious producers.
Francois Driard is a French cheesemaker who put Nepal on the world cheese map. He started his project 12 years ago, following the organic farming model. Today his team produces a large variety of cow and yak milk cheeses daily. His yak blue cheese won a Super Gold Medal at the fourth Mondial du Fromage et des Produits Laitiers in France’s Loire Valley.
Today yak cheese is appreciated by international consumers who are starting to discover this unique dairy product.
Yak cheese has hard paste with pungent flavors, creamy texture, and herbal notes.
Donkey Cheese – Serbia
Slobodan Simić is the world’s only cheese producer that makes his cheese with donkey’s milk. His small cheese factory is located in the Special Nature Reserve ”Zasavica” 80 km from Belgrade.
According to experts, donkey’s milk has similar properties to human breast milk. Donkey’s milk is rich in vitamins, low in fat, and contains anti-aging and antioxidant properties.
To make donkey cheese this Serbian cheesemaker faces some unique challenges. Donkeys produce less than a liter of milk per day, and to make a kilo of cheese one needs 25 liters of milk. Furthermore, this type of milk is low in casein, a necessary component that promotes milk coagulation. However, Slobodan has overcome all these issues and perfected the process. Slobodan makes the most expensive cheese in the world, priced at about 1000€ per kilo. Would you give it a try?
Donkey cheese is white, very rich in flavor with nutty aromas and earthy notes.
Camel Cheese – Morocco
Camel’s milk is not a novelty. Humans have been consuming camel’s milk for over 6000 years. To Bedouins, camel’s milk was a life-saving food being the only resource when they were traveling long distances in the desert and throughout inhospitable waterless environments.
According to Healthline.com, Camel’s milk has many properties that can improve people’s health. Among some of the highlighted benefits are that it’s rich in nutrients, it’s a better option for people with lactose intolerance, and it may lower blood sugar.
While the camel dairy farming industry has expanded rapidly in the last years, mostly in Australia and the United States, cheesemaking has not laid its foundation yet.
Caravane cheese, similar to camembert, is the only camel’s milk cheese that you can find worldwide. It’s made by a Mauritanian company founded by Nancy Abeiderrhamane in 1987.
Nevertheless, we have found a small cheesemaker in Morocco that specializes in camel’s milk cheese. Abderrazak Khoubbane owns a restaurant and a small dairy factory in the city of Essaouira. Abderrazak found that camel’s milk does not coagulate very well, however, being an innovative cheesemaker, he found a way to trick the milk into coagulating. He is now producing a cheese that is well appreciated by locals and tourists alike.
Similar to ricotta this cheese is very fresh with a pronounced tangy flavor and light texture.
Credit Image: Vice.com
Moose Cheese – Sweden
Moose are one of the most iconic animals in Sweden and moose meat is very popular amongst locals. Besides being a local delicacy, moose meat is very healthy! According to experts, moose meat is low in fat and rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
In addition to the high-quality meat produced by this animal, a couple of small farmers in Lapland has decided to take a chance at producing a different moose farmed product: cheese.
Christer and Ulla Johansson run a moose farm located north of Sweden, about 45 minutes by car from Umea. The couple produces 4 different types of cheese: white mold cheese, creamy blue cheese, dried blue cheese, and feta cheese.
The aging period varies between 6 months and a year. What does it taste like? No clue. We have found very little information on the net. Nevertheless, we found out that the Johansson’s run a restaurant where they serve their moose cheese.
Will Studd at Willstudd.com has discovered another small cheese producer in the region. Sune Häggmark runs Moose Garden. A company that offers tours, accommodation, and he makes moose cheese too! If you are wondering what it tastes like watch this video and watch Will while is trying the cheese. His face says it all 🙂
By the way, as moose can make only a few liters of milk per day, moose cheese is very expensive. It’s sold at 1000€ per kilo! One of the most expensive cheese on earth!
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