Visitors spending their holiday in Tirol should definitely use the opportunity to try Graukäse. Despite its somewhat unappetising name, which translates as "grey cheese", it is one of those foods which people either love or hate. One thing, however, is for sure: it's a super-healthy superfood.
So what's so special about this cheese which enjoys cult status in Tirol and is a favourite of sports enthusiasts? It all begins with skimmed milk from cows fed on natural hay and zero silage. This is combined with lactic acid bacteria to create a thick but low-fat mixture known as "Topfen", similar to cottage cheese. The final step is then to add seasoning and leave the cheese to ripen for several weeks. Immature Graukäse is crumbly and mild, while mature Graukäse is softer and more tangy. On traditional farms, Graukäse is often wrapped in jute and left to ripen next to the wood-burning oven. It is one of the main ingredients in "Broadakrapfen", a speciality from the Brixental Valley with a crispy crust and a melted cheese core.
The perfect healthfood
Graukäse on its own is generally served with sliced raw onions, plenty of chives and a seasoning of apple vinegar, cold-pressed olive oil and pepper. Wholemeal bread is often also served on the side. This simple but delicious recipe is known for its nutritious properties, with sports enthusiasts swearing by the combination of protein (muscle strength), carbohydrates (energy) and vitamins (immune system). The vitamins from the onions and chives support the digestion, while the oil takes the edge off the raw onions. Butter can also be added to the bread.
Graukäse is perfect for those watchting their weight. It contains just 1g of fat per 100g of cheese, but an amazing 30g of protein.
How to identify top-quality produce
There are different kinds of Graukäse, from white and crumbly (immature) to yellow and oily (mature). It can be found in wheels, rectangles and even cubes. Choose the shape and age of your Graukäse depending on your preference.