Regional and fair – Cheese from Vorarlberg: Controlled quality and genuine craftsmanship
If someone in the German colloquial language says “What kind of cheese”, this usually means a pejorative opinion to a certain statement.
In Vorarlberg, the sentence has a completely different, pleasurable meaning among cheese lovers from near and far. What is meant is the culinary elation when one of the more than 60 cheese specialities produced in the country pampers the palate. The Vorarlberg alpine dairymasters have earned themselves an excellent reputation with a great deal of skill and knowledge.
This is also reflected in the variety of recipes in the local cuisine. Hardly any guesthouse or private household in the country can do without the variety of local cheeses and many chefs are constantly inventing new cheese dishes.
The basis for cheese production is cow milk. In an international comparison, this is milked on the small 1,220 dairy farms in the province. In order to satisfy the demand for our cheese, around 25.000 dairy cows of various breeds “work” for this enjoyment. With an average milk yield of 6,600 kilograms of milk per cow and year, one is far away from the so-called turbo cow, which as a milk spitting monster cattle ghosts through various heads (more on this on page 24).
The worldwide unique “three-stage economy” in our alpine area means animal husbandry from the valley to the high altitudes of a good 500 Alps. This is necessary because there are not enough feeding areas available for the animals in the valley alone.
“The most important aspect of milk production is the feeding, care and keeping of dairy cows. The milk laboratory of the Chamber of Agriculture, but also the numerous controls at the processing plants and external control bodies guarantee consumers the highest quality,” says LK milk expert Othmar Bereuter.
Medicine has known for a long time that milk and milk products not only taste good but are also healthy. Calcium, high-quality proteins and easily digestible fats supply the body with the necessary substances, and nature is always better than vitamin tablets or artificial food supplements.
Facts about the Vorarlberg dairy industry
- Dairy farms: 1,220
- Dairy cows: approx. 24.500
- Milk production: approx. 165 million kilograms per year, of which about 140 million kilograms are used for milk processing such as cheese, butter, etc.
- Cheese production: approx. 9,600 tons per year
- Maintained Alps: approx. 500
- Variety of cheeses: over 60 different cheeses
- Numerous dairy products such as cream cheese, butter, yoghurt, milk drinks, cream, etc.
- Cheese processors: 28 small dairies, 130 alpine dairies and 4 larger companies