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“Graukäse” days in the Ahrntal valley

A "cheesy" event highlight in Ahrntal valley in South Tyrol

 

07.09. - 15.09.2024


The almost “primeval” cheese from the Tyrolean Alps is still produced with plenty of skill and passion today on the farms and pastures of the Ahrntal valley. The Ahrntal GrauKäse Days offer the chance to get to know the different Graukäse producers, take a look over their shoulders during the “Kasn” (cheesemaking) process, and try a wide range of varieties of Graukäse in participating restaurants and shops.

 

Highlight of the week:

The GrauKäse Festival with cheese and farmers’ market, comparative tasting of "Ahrntal Valley Graukäse" with a jury assessment, musical entertainment, and awards given to the best Ahrntal valley Graukäse plus a 5-course Graukäse tasting menu;

 

Flyer GrauKäse Days in Ahrntal valley 2023
GrauKaeseTage_2023_Folder_A5_Digital-Titelbild
The "Graukäse" Festival

07.09.2024

15:00 - 18:30

  • Cheese and farmers' market
  • Comparative tasting of Ahrntal Graukäse
  • Official opening of the event with cheese cutting
  • Live Music
  • Award ceremony for the best Ahrntal Graukäse
Cheese dairies in Ahrntal valley
Eggemoa cheese dairy
Eggemoa cheese dairy
Dorf / Paese 53
39030 Mühlwald / Selva dei Molini
details
Goasroscht
Goasroscht
Winkelweg / Via Winkel 39
39032 Sand in Taufers / Campo Tures
details
Hochgruberhof cheese dairy
Hochgruberhof cheese dairy
Gornerweg / Via Gorner 100
39030 Mühlwald / Selva dei Molini
details
Mittermair cheese dairy
Mittermair cheese dairy
Mühlwald / Selva dei Molini 57
39030 Mühlwald / Selva dei Molini
details
Moarhof Cheese dairy
Moarhof Cheese dairy
Kirchdorf / Via Kirchdorf 21
39030 Ahornach / Acereto
details
Neuhaus Hof Cheese dairy
Neuhaus Hof Cheese dairy
Ahornach / Acereto 158
39032 Ahornach / Acereto
details
Kleinstahlhof - Cheese dairy
Kleinstahlhof - Cheese dairy
Brunnberg 20
39030 St. Johann/Ahrntal valley
details

Everything about the "Graukäse", its history & production

“Graukäse” cheese

Ahrntal Graukäse (Ahrntal Valley grey cheese) is a member of the acid curd cheese family. These cheeses are made by coagulating curdled milk without the addition of rennet and have been widespread in the Tyrolean Alps for as long as anyone can remember. The cheese’s characteristics alone bear witness to its ancient origins long before the emergence of cheese dairy technologies. Graukäse occupied an important place on the sparse list of means of subsistence available in the economically lean environment of the mountain people.

And Graukäse really is lean – perhaps even the leanest of all cheeses. So lean, that the fat content in the dry mass does not exceed 2%. The reason for this distinctive feature lies in its type and composition. The base product for making grey cheese is what is left of the milk after butter is churned.

In South Tyrol Graukäse is particularly widespread in the Ahrntal Valley and the two smaller valleys that branch off it, Mühlwald and Weissenbach.

 

Graukäse: renaissance in top-level South Tyrolean gastronomy

Where once the cheese made from sour skimmed milk was considered to be “poor people’s food”, these days it is enjoying a renaissance in top-level gastronomySlowfood even conferred a “Presidio” upon it, the highest possible distinction.

 

slow-food-suedtirol

 

Development scheme

Over recent decades a positive invasion of farm and mountain dairy cheeses has practically driven out Graukäse. It is only still produced for home consumption on individual mountain farms or in just a few cooperative alpine dairies. The Ahrntal Graukäse Development Project aims to publicise and circulate the original production methods again. Events such as the “Ahrntal GrauKäse Days” and the “Autumn of Mountains and Cheese” aim to raise well-deserved awareness of this unique product.

 

Production

After all of the cream has been skimmed off, the milk sits for up to two days in containers and during this period the natural sour milk curdling process begins. Next, the mass is carefully and slowly heated up and once the whey has separated out, the curds are broken up by hand. After this, they are seasoned with salt and if desired a little pepper. The process is rounded off by putting the curds in moulds. The cheese takes between two and three weeks to mature. However, some producers leave their Graukäse to mature “cold” for up to twelve more weeks.

The progressive maturation allows natural grey and blue mould to grow. It has no rind, a marbled body with a graduated light, chalky-white centre, which may become yellowy and sometimes waxy. Its aroma is pervasive due to the acidic and fermentative components. A bitter taste dominates the flavour, which becomes ever more striking as the cheese becomes increasingly mature. This depends on how much whey the cheesemaker leaves in the mass at the time that the curds are placed in the mould.

News

Cheese dairy visits in Ahrntal valley

 

 

 

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