I have been remiss in updating our blog but I will try to get caught up. We have certainly been busy this summer, despite the fact that much of the summer weather has been cool and rainy.
In early June, the nearby town of Bad Tölz held a cheese festival – the official website is here. This was the second year that the event was held, and we were duly impressed. In addition to featuring cheese from our region, the Tölzerland, and from nearby Allgäu, there were cheeses from other regions in Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. One of the stands we visited featured French cheeses from the Pyrénées, a French region I know little about. I enjoyed speaking with the two people at the booth in French. I am not sure they actually spoke much German! They had several cheese varieties I could eat (made with pasteurized milk, as I’m avoiding unpasteurized cheese for now). David tasted the unpasteurized milk varieties, and he said they were excellent.
In addition to the sheer number of local and international cheeses we could sample, there were chocolates that had fillings made with cheese, some fresh-baked breads, a Bratwurst stand, local beer from Kloster Ettal and best of all, several wine stands with suggested cheese pairings. I am really looking forward to attending the festival next year so that I can try some of the wines along with the cheeses. Many of the featured wines were varieties that come from Franken (Franconia), such as Silvaner, and some others from Austria which are not commonly found in the United States, such as Grüner Veltliner, a favorite of mine.
As for the cheeses, there were so many different varieties I could not even begin to talk about them all. Of course, we happily sampled the Emmentaler cheese from the Allgäu, which is basically what we think of as Swiss cheese in the United States (but oh, so much tastier!). I got to have some of my beloved French Comté, which I think is still the cheese I love the most. I especially enjoyed the cheeses made in Tölz, particularly the goat cheeses. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is learn more about the cheeses that are made in our region and the Allgäu. The cheese festival in Tölz was sort of a starting point for me in this journey, and since I could only taste some of the cheeses, I am eager to discover more.
As parents of a toddler, we especially appreciated all the kid-friendly activities. Rosebud was especially excited by the goats:
Rosebud was even more excited by the calf, who she got to pet and feed:
The festival also featured a number of different events, including guided wine and cheese tastings, music and a cheese walk. There was even a cooking duel between some of the local mayors (Iron Chef Bad Tölz?) We were really impressed by the festival itself and enjoyed the relaxed, friendly atmosphere. It was sehr gemütlich. Bad Tölz is my favorite town in Upper Bavaria, and the cheese festival is just one of the reasons why.