Austria Uncorked

by Alexander Kast in Cheese

With Father’s Day having just passed, I thought about the fact that my Father attended University in Austria when he was young. It’s a part of my dad’s story that I really know little about, which is also true about my knowledge of Austria’s extensive wealth in the world of cuisine.

Fortunately, it is not hard to find information about this world of culinary treats! As a matter of fact, some of the most famous foods have their origins in Austria. For instance, most people think that their favorite French pastry, the croissant, was invented in Paris,. In reality, it was created in the Austrian Capital of Vienna. For this week’s Fridays Uncorked, we are incorporating multiple themes a farmhouse cheese, a traditional spread, and an Austrian Pig varietal cured right here in North Carolina!! 

Sibratsgefäll Bergkaese
Unpasteurized Cows Milk, Sibratsgefell, Austria
Reg. 26.99 LB Sale 19.99 LB (Sale price for Friday’s Uncorked, June 22, 2012)

Like the rest of the Alpine nations, Austria boasts plenty of nutty, sweet, Gruyere-like cheeses, and this one is no exception. Bergkaese means “mountain cheese,” and it best represents these styles. It is made in the most Western side of Austria in the small town of Sibratsgefäll. This cheese comes in 80 lb wheels and is matured for over 2 years, giving it big, bold flavors with a tingle on the top of the tongue when you finish.

Meat

Austria is not only the land of pork, beef schnitzel and boiled meats, but also a land full of dense forests and lush mountains. Neighboring Hungary is home to the Mangalitsa ham, made from the meat of pigs that roam in the eastern side of Austria as well. Local favorite, Johnston County Ham Company, produces a beautifully cured Mangalitsa ham right here in North Carolina that is out of this world.

Johnston County was one of the first to use Mangalitsa hams in the United States. Curemaster, Rufus Brown, receives the pigs from Heath Putnam Farms in Auburn, Washington whhich started breeding these pigs in 2006 when they got their first ones from, where else, but Austria!

The Mangalitsa is an “unimproved” breed that is closely related to the European Wild Boar. They call these ”lard-type” breeds, as they fatten easily, and have very juicy, dark, marbled meat. The Mangalitsa is the crème de la crème in that it is the most fat-prone pig in the world!

For more information on this amazing animal check out http://woolypigs.com

An Austrian Cheese Recipe

Liptaur Cheese Spread

This spread is now made in Austria, but was originally from Liptov, Hungary, once a part of the Austrian/Hungarian Empire. Typically, you would use a fresh sheep or goat’s milk cheese. This spread is spicy, creamy and very non-German like. You could call it the European version of our famous southern pimento cheese. They serve the spread at a Heuriger, an Austrian Wine Tavern, so you know it goes well with the local fair!

Accompaniments

Cornichons, small French style pickles, and Pickled Cipolini Onions are perfect to pair with Liptaur. Both of these items can be found as part of our Olive Bar selection.