The Csíz Sajtműhely is a cheese manufactury in Baranya county in Hungary. It has the best cheese of the year. Therefore, it has the privilege to represent Hungary in the most prestigious cheese championship around the globe. Szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu talked with Anita Kun, founder of the manufactory.
As we previously reported, the best cheese in Hungary in 2017 was the 6-month-aged cheese in a so-called gouda shape. It has the privilege to represent our country at the Mondial du Fromage in France in 2019.
About the winner
According to Anita, this cheese is good-looking and golden coloured. It weighs ten kilos (about 22 pounds), so people often ask for a smaller slice to bring home. The other interesting fact about it is that due to the ageing process, it has a nice, characteristic, “cheesy” after-taste.
Anita believes that cheese is an elemental part of the Hungarian cuisine. However, most people are not picky at all. In the last 50-100 years, Port Salut was the most popular. She believes that industrial production ruined the cheese manufactures because now we do not have a rich taste anymore, like in France, the Netherlands or Italy. It is difficult for most people to think about any Hungarian cheese names other than Trappist. Maybe Óvári or Lajtai, if anyone remembers them. In France, there are 400 different types of cheeses at least for this reason French people do not have a hard time naming a couple.
From the office to the countryside
Anita states that a few years earlier she would have never thought that she was about to become a cheese manufacturer. She moved to the countryside from the city. She worked in an office; then she became a farmer. Now she produces all sorts of cheeses from organic milk without any preservatives. Her hobby has become her profession. She tasted a lot of weak quality cheese that she bought, so she came up with the idea to make her own. Her first product was red onion-flavoured, and it tasted so good that she is making it ever since then.
Anita thinks that after reaching a certain level, it is tough to make progress. People know that they make good quality cheese, but they don’t know how to develop due to the lack of professional support in the country. The French cheese championship gives an opportunity for further professional development as well; this is why Csíz Sajtműhely applied. Anite experienced the national cheese festival as a fantastic event. There were 356 types of cheeses, so she had the chance to get inspired. The most appealing about it was, though, that the French cheese knighthood’s members came to judge. It was a wonderful experience for the manufactory to win, but they had to realise that they still have a lot of work ahead. They want to make their cheese even better to deserve taking part in the final championship.
The handcrafted cheese got this name because the main part of the production is made by hand, there is no mechanisation. The only exception is when a machine stirs and pasteurises the milk.
The essential elements for making the perfect cheese are the high-quality ingredients, clean working space, and professional knowledge. Furthermore, it is not enough to be able to produce good cheeses. The manufacturers have to sell the products as well. They have to advertise the cheese. They also have to have excellent communication skills; they have to present themselves in a kind and charming way, or else nobody goes to them.
It seems to be quite a competition between cheese producers since there are a lot of them in Hungary. However, Anita states that about 80% of them make poor quality cheeses. As the consumers are becoming more aware of quality-taste, they will be able to recognise the mass products. They are not going to buy the lower quality products in 15-20 years.
How much cheese can one produce from 100 litres (about 26 gallons) of milk? Anita confessed that only 10% of it will actually become cheese, in the end, the rest will become by-products. By-products are useful, from whey, for example, people make orda cheese, which is called ricotta in Italy. It is a healthy product full of nutrients, and even those can consume it, who are on a low-fat diet. Finally, animals can eat the leftover whey.
Plans for the future
Anita wants to have a mini lab in the manufactory to be able to examine the changes in milk and react to it. Additionally, they want to make their cheese perfect for the championship, which means strict microbiological changes on their level. The task for 2018 is to develop a proper cheese for the Mondial du Fromage.
If you want to get more information about Hungarian cheeses, click here!
Featured image: www.facebook.com/csizsajtmuhely