|Other names||Herder's cheese|
|Country of origin||Germany|
|Source of milk||Cows|
|Aging time||varies, usually 8 months|
Traditionally, cow herders bring their cows from the Alps into Allgäu each fall in mid-September. September 18 typically "marks the official start of the Almabtrieb, or descent, a day celebrated with a festival ...." Hirtenkäse is made from the milk from these cows. It is usually aged eight months.
Color, texture and taste
Its texture and taste are "rustic, savory and firm textured... with a rugged, earthy aroma."
It has been compared to other hard cheeses of Europe:
In texture and flavor, the 14-pound cheese resembles a cross between Parmigiano-Reggiano and aged Gouda, with a firm golden interior and aromas of butterscotch and orange peel. ... Even at eight months, the cheese has developed some of the crunchy protein crystals found in Parmigiano-Reggiano. But additional aging makes the cheese creamier, not harder and dryer. It has a waxy texture - it even smells waxy - but it isn't crumbly like Parmigiano-Reggiano or firm enough to grate. The flavor is concentrated, with the cooked-milk sweetness of a caramel.— Janet Fletcher, San Francisco Chronicle
Wine and fruit pairings
Hirtenkäse's nutty, earthy flavors can be complemented or contrasted.
iGourmet suggests contrasting the cheese:
Hirtenkase [sic] is wonderful with German whole grain breads, fresh and dried fruits, like apples and figs. Excellent also when coarsely grated over roasted potatoes, mixed into hot pasta with chucks of ripe tomatoes, shaved over a crisp salad. Enjoy Hritenkase [sic] with a glass of wheat beer like a Hefeweizen, or a full bodied red wine.