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During maturation, bacteria and enzymes act on the fat, protein and carbohydrate in the cheese to produce the body, texture and flavour characteristic of mature Cheddar and other cheeses. The changes in body and texture that transform the rubbery, elastic mass of curd to a cheese with a firm close texture are the results of protein and fat degradation. The release of volatile components from the curd gives the aroma to cheese and associated flavours.
- Written by Jaap de Jonge. Jongia (UK) Ltd
There is increasing interest in farmhouse cheese making in the UK and Ireland and Jongia (UK) Ltd., a supplier of equipment and ingredients to the UK and Irish dairy industry, offers study tours to German dairies. These study tours offer existing and potential new businesses an opportunity to see equipment in action and to discuss cheese production and marketing with farmhouse producers.
The study tours are offered as intensive one or two day trip, depending on flights and and are planned to be low cost.
Study tours take place in the spring and autumn each year. Participants can select from 3- routes, each with a different accent for a different market. Many cheese makers have joined all of the trips, even a few coming twice! Participants have included seasoned cheese makers, novices and hobbyists.
Berlin area, 3 - 4 dairies, with the accent on fresh products, like drinking milk, yoghurt, curd cheese (quark) and soft cheese. Two of the dairies are organic (one bio-dynamic) and one is goat milk dairy. Depending on flights we can execute this as a day trip
Westpahlia (Dortmund area), 5 or more dairies. The accent is on Gouda/Edam type cheese and curd cheese (quark).
Bavaria/Austria border. 4 dairies with the accent on soft cheese and mountain cheese. The latter is an Edam type process with a red smear coating.
Our participants are always very enthusiastic after the trips, having not only seen new ways to solve problems they might have, but also having made new contacts and friends. All have indicated that the interactions with the other participants were an important part of each study tour.
Examples of technology and developments seen on study tours
The Westphalia trip visits exclusively cheese makers who are also farmers and run farm shops as well, while a few also run restaurants. These farmers are now entrepreneurs of the first degree and are eager to share their experience with us. Images of a dairy shop are given in plates 1-3 below.