Land of Milk and Cheese: 10 Austrian Cheeses You Must Try!
Did you know that 8% of all cheeses that exist in the world come from Austria? Probably not!
This small mountainous country features plenty of lush grassland, making it the perfect place for cows to graze. In fact, most farmers leave their cows to roam free in the mountains in the summer.
It is therefore hardly surprising that over time Austrians have devised around 400 types of cheese. After all, you’ve gotta do something with all that leftover cow’s milk!
Here, we introduce you to some of the most delicious Austrian cheeses. But first, we give you some hard facts about cheese making in Austria.
Some fun facts about Austrian cheese
While other countries create cheese from various sources of milk, such as goat’s and sheep’s milk, most Austrian cheeses are made from cow’s milk. The reason for this is simple: Austrian farmers keep over 1.8 million cows, giving it a human to cow ratio of 4:1.
And Austrians really love their cheeses. Despite having a population of only 8 million, this small Alpine country produces almost 200,000 tons of cheese per year. While Austria also exports its cheese, Austrians also import a lot of cheese too.
The average Austrian eats about 23 kg of cheese per year. This is hardly surprising; anyone who has been to rural Austria will have become acquainted with the so-called “Bretteljause” or “Kalte Platte”. This is a rustic dish, usually featuring a selection of cheeses, sausages, ham, and dark bread.
What makes this dish particularly special is that it is served on a wooden cutting board, rather than on a plate. In rural Austria, this is a very typical dinner dish. It is also a very popular snack served in rustic bars and mountain huts.
The 10 most famous Austrian cheeses
1. Bergkäse: Alpenkäse
Bergkäse, also known as Alpkäse, which can be translated as mountain cheese or Alpine cheese, is probably the most common cheese in Austria.
It is fairly hard and has a strong, slightly bitter taste. If you want to feel the taste of the Austrian mountains, this is the cheese for you. Try combining it with white wine, nuts, grapes, and fresh bread and you will be on your way to cheese heaven.
2. Tiroler Graukäse
Graukäse, which quite literally means grey cheese, comes from the region of Tyrol. Due to its low fat content, it is one of the healthiest cheeses around. While it is considered a superfood and a delicacy today, its origin paints a different story.
Back in the day when peasants had to make do with whatever nutrition they could squeeze out of their produce, Graukäse was a way of recycling the milk left over from the butter-making process.
If you want to try a cheese that isn’t only delicious but is also immensely healthy and nutritious, you should give this Tyrolean delicacy a try.
3. Moosbacher Käse
Moosbacher Käse is another cheese you definitely need to try! This cheese, which has won numerous awards, can be identified by its many (and large) holes.
As the most exported cheese in all of Austria, it is by far the most popular cheese with foreigners. It originates in Styria, the South-East of Austria, a region close to Italy that is particularly well-known for its culinary delights.
Depending on the type, it can taste mild and sweet or spicy and strong, making it the perfect addition to a cheese plate. The Austrians love this cheese so much, it has led them to create a special cheese-soup called Moosbacher Suppe.
If you like mouldy cheese, then Österkron is definitely for you. This cheese is slightly crumbly, while still remaining fairly wet, and boasts a particularly strong taste. Austrians use it to make spreads, to add to their salads, and even to put it in soups or meat-dishes for extra-spice.
But while there is no limit to the ways you can use this price-winning cheese, the best way to truly enjoy its deep flavor is from a cheese plate with some grapes, fresh bread, and a glass of wine.
5. Amadeus Cheese
Named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the famous Austrian composer, this cheese can be traced back to the mountain huts of Salzburg. Despite being matured for a full eight weeks, this subtle cheese has a particularly harmonious taste.
If you like cheeses that are well-matured, but retain a mild taste, then Amadeus is for you!
6. Mondseer Cheese
Mondseer käse is yet another Austrian cheese you should try at least once. This delicacy from the Salzburg region was originally sold in small boxes, which is why it is widely referred to as Mondseer Schachtelkäse, meaning “box cheese from Mondsee”.
Today, this fairly soft cheese is produced all over Austria and is known for its spicy and strong taste. It is particularly common to use this cheese in cheese salads, cheese plates, and as part of a Bretteljausen.
7. St. Severin Cheese
This soft cheese got its name from the Austrian monastery where it was first produced. And we promise that its softly melting texture and slightly sour aroma will send you straight to heaven.
8. Schlierbacher Schlosskäse
It seems that back in the day, cheese making was a common way for Austrian monasteries to pay the bills.
The so-called Schlierbacher Schlosskäse was created by monks in the North of Austria and continues to delight cheese connoisseurs all over the world. This soft cheese takes about two weeks to mature and is well-known for its strong and substantial taste.
9. Staazer Käse
Staazer Käse is made from raw cow’s milk. While this may sound pretty ordinary, there is a special twist in this story. The cows that produce the milk for this cheese are exclusively fed on natural grass, herbs, and hay.
The natural nutrition of the cows translates into a cheese that has a particularly tasty aroma. But that isn’t all there is to it: This cheese is matured for at least 3 months, which further contributes to its exquisite taste.
If you are looking for something slightly more unique, Mostkäse might be just for you. During its 3-month maturation, this cheese is repeatedly soaked in Most, a fruit-based alcoholic beverage that is very common in Austria.
It is this special treatment that gives the Mostkäse a slight apple- or pear-like taste. If you want to bring together the best of what Austria has to offer in terms of alcohol and cheese, then Mostkäse is definitely for you.
Austria: Land of Cheeses!
Whether you prefer milder cheeses, moldy cheeses, or strongly aromatic cheeses, Austria boasts something for everyone! So why not take a trip and try for yourself?