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Grey cheese

Dish with a long history

Grey cheese is a product of the meagre existence in the mountains, so that everything had to be used.
Milk was used for butter; grey cheese was produced with the „remaining“ skimmed milk without adding rennet. The farmers’ wives and dairymaids were mainly responsible for making cheese until the 19th century when it became a job for men.
This character cheese is mainly popular in eastern Tyrol: the inhabitants of the Oberinntal area, of the Ziller Valley and people from Vipiteno and surroundings all have their grey cheese. Grey cheese from Valle Aurina had nearly vanished into oblivion, when it was awarded the slow food "presidio price" in 2005, an award for nearly forgotten, high-quality regional products with traditional processing techniques.
No grey cheese is the same. Every farm and every mountain hut contributes its part to this cheese culture with its own recipe, which is characterised by intuition, experience and century-old family traditions.
Grey cheese is a very low-fat cheese. The classical way of enjoying this character cheese is with vinegar, oil and onion rings or as the heart of pressed dumplings, the vegetarian dish from Val Pusteria par excellence. Recent recipes of South Tyrolean chefs also include a combination of stewed fruit, vegetables or honey with this cheese whose taste ranges from mild and sour to strong and sharp and which is always good for a surprise.

To look up:
Fink, Hans: Südtiroler Küche Tisch und Keller. Im Lauf der Jahrhunderte. Bozen 1980
Gallmetzer, Hartmann: Südtirol: Milch und Landschaft. Bozen 2001
Grießmair, Hans: Tiroler Graukäse im Lichte geschichtlicher Bauernwirtschaft betrachtet. In: Steger, Reinhard & Volgger, Karl: Südtiroler Graukäse genießen. Bozen 2008², S. 15-19
Oberhollenzer, Friedrich: Graukäse, eine Kostbarkeit in der Diätküche. In: Steger, Reinhard & Volgger, Karl: Südtiroler Graukäse genießen. Bozen 2008², S. 25-26
Pircher, Martin: Eine Liebeserklärung an den Ahrntaler Graukäse. Von steilen Hängen und runzligen Höfen. In: Steger, Reinhard & Volgger, Karl: Südtiroler Graukäse genießen. Bozen 2008², S, 12-14
Stecher, Bertram: Der Steckbrief des Ahrntaler Graukäses In: Steger, Reinhard & Volgger, Karl: Südtiroler Graukäse genießen. Bozen 2008², S. 24
Wurm, Karlheinz: Die Milchwirtschaft Südtirols. Innsbruck 1969
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