Cheese Culture

Enjoying light cuisine with ease – that’s what makes Austria’s master cheesemakers so successful. Their spirit of innovation transforms cream cheese into unique cream cheese creations made from cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk, exotically combined with herbs, fruits or vegetables. In the process, each region offers its own specialities, which are often based upon century-old recipes and have been adapted to suit the spirit of the times. Austria’s cream cheeses are wellness for the senses. They are light,capture the imagination and caress the palate.

© Kärnten Werbung, Fotograf: Franz Gerdl

© Kärnten Werbung, Fotograf: Franz Gerdl

Soft Cheese

The creation of many soft cheese specialities date back to the previous century, when they were produced in the country’s numerous monasteries. Whether with outer mould, inner mould or red cultures, every recipe and every cheese has its own particular flavour. The nuances range from mild through to hearty-robust. Numerous soft cheeses can be discovered in Upper Austria and Styria. They are manufactured in monasteries or small alpine dairies, which manage to develop unique creations. Depending upon the recipe and degree of ripening, the characteristic flavour ranges from mild-fine through to tangy-strong, tasty but always interesting. The ripening occurs from the exterior through to the interior during a period of 2 to 4 weeks. The facets of the ripening could not be more different: From the white mould skin and red culture rind through to blue or green inner mould and double mould.

Semi-hard cheese

Austrian semi-hard cheese offers a diverse palette. Alongside classics such as Gouda and Tilsiter, every cheese fan has their personal favourite. The choice ranges from soft through to firm, from aromatic through to mild. Semi-hard cheese has centuries of tradition in Austria. Manufacturing is subsequently widespread throughout the country and often has a strong regional base. This is reflected in the names of the cheese; specialities such as Dachsteiner, Arlberger or Gmundner Bergkäse are to be found here. Semihard cheeses are evenly ripened cheeses with a firm, smooth consistency and small slit- or grain-shaped eyes, or a broken eye formation depending upon the breaking strength of the cheese. Semi-hard cheese is the cheese style that features in most cheese types.

Hard cheese

Time and tradition are what distinguish the character and uniqueness of Austria’s hard cheese. From a mild, fully aromatic taste through to a special piquancy. Thanks to the long storage, Emmentaler and Bergkäse have an incomparably natural flavour. Arlberg combines the strong, full aromatic cheese pleasure of Tyrol and Vorarlberg. Here you can become acquainted with a nature in which generations of mountain cows have been providing the fresh, pure milk for the typical tangy Bergkäse. This natural landscape extends an invitation for hiking or Nordic walking in the valleys and gorges, up to the high alpine pastures and mountain chalets and easily accessible panoramic viewpoints. The saying, “The way is the goal” is especially true here. And – with their culinary delights – the many chalets en-route truly transform it into a pleasure hike!

© Kärnten Werbung, Fotograf: Michael Seyer

© Kärnten Werbung, Fotograf: Michael Seyer

The logo from the European Commission is awarded exclusively to products that are recognised as having a protected designation of origin. In return, the creation, processing and manufacture of the cheese with protected designation of origin must take place in a specific geographic area in accordance with a recognised and predetermined process.

Vorarlberger Bergkäse
The Vorarlberger Bergkäse is a regional speciality that has fans far beyond the borders of the small province on account of its high standards. Its generic, aromatically fine-tangy taste is developed during a ripening period of at least 6 months. It is a member of the hard cheese family.

Tiroler Graukäse
The Tiroler Graukäse counts among the oldest cheese varieties in Austria. It demonstrates its qualities as a pure, natural product made from low-fat milk with no chemical additives or rennet. It has a lively sharpness and slightly sour style and practically no taste of fat. It is an acid curd cheese and ripens within 2 weeks.

Vorarlberger Alpkäse
Numerous alpine herbs lend the milk for the Vorarlberger Alpkäse its especially rich, aromatic note and its tangy taste. During the summer months, local dairymen traditionally churn the day’s fresh milk in copper drums on Vorarlberg’s high Alps. This hard cheese develops during a 3-month ripening period.

Tiroler Almkäse / Tiroler Alpkäse
These cheese specialities are only manufactured during the summer months on select Tyrolean alpine pastures. After its ripening period, it is available exclusively from October until March. As a traditional Tyrolean speciality, the hard cheese is characterised by its strong, aromatic-piquant taste, which it develops during a ripening period of at least 4 months.

Tiroler Bergkäse
The Tiroler Bergkäse attains its class from silage-free pasture milk. It is characterised by its powerful, fully aromatic taste, its tenderly melting body and a scattered, pea-sized eye formation. A true speciality in the hard cheese group, with a ripening period of 14 weeks.

Gailtaler Almkäse
On 14 alpine pastures above the villages of the Gail Valley, Gailtaler Almkäse is produced from the freshest alpine pasture milk in accordance with time-tested tradition. This multiple award-winning hard cheese places great value on a high-quality appearance. The Gailtaler Almkäse is recognised by its natural rind. Its ripening period amounts to 7 weeks.