Precious and Traditional
All that clucking and ruffling of feathers can make a person feel quite warm, so the cheese cellar at Plangger’s dairy, which is set deep in rock, is a welcome change of scene. Following the call of cool air and an intense aroma, we arrive in the vaults. They are filled to the rafters with ripening wheels of cheese, which the Plangger family has been making since 1956. The rock-cut cellar provides their cheeses with optimal maturing conditions: ‘Our organic mountain cheese takes between three and nine months – the more time you give it, the more flavourful it becomes,’ explains Plangger. The taste of the organic Rässkäse cheese is unmistakable in its evocation of mountain herbs, crystal salt and minerals, while the Plangger’s Sennkäse also comes in a lower fat version.
Making Good Cheese Starts with the Soil …
Herbert Plangger believes that our health reflects our soil. The pioneer of organic cheesemaking recognised early that good cheese depends on good soil nourishing a healthy mix of herbs and grasses for the cows – because happy, healthy cows deliver the best milk. Plangger remembers a time when milk, butter and cheese tasted of red clover, chervil and yarrow, so his cheese dairy only uses raw organic milk from cows fed exclusively on grass, herbs and hay. Since 1991 Plangger has also been using microorganisms in his cowsheds and in the cheese dairy: ‘They protect the soil from over-fertilisation, and promote plant growth and biodiversity,’ emphasises Plangger.