This year the town of Voitsberg in Styria, for the 16th time, hosted the Styrian “milk-street festival” in the setting of the town´s medieval castle ruins and Gustav and I made sure to leave Vienna by the set of dawn so not to miss a minute.
As Austria´s largest milk processing company Berglandmilch has together with its nearby station in Feldkirch, the country´s largest cheese-manufacturing factory in Voitsberg, naturally a huge chunk of the festival was in the hands of Schärdinger, a branch of Berglandmilch producing all kinds of dairy products for the Austrian market.
But it wouldn´t be a festival of the “steirische Milchstrasse” if not also some small producers would be on board, so this year other than Berglandmilch/Schärdinger there were also the cheese makers Deutschmann, Fischer, Klug, LFS Grottenhof, Schautzer, Schrottner and Tax.
For 12 Euros you got a pick of 12 different kinds of cheeses, or 6 for 6 for the body-conscious ones among us. Naturally this was on the one hand a hard task to take as everyone was more than generous with the amount of cheese samples they piled up on your plate and on the other hand it was of course by far not enough as all together a selection of as many as 100 cheeses was on offer.
Since it was a festival though, it didn´t take long until Gustav and I found new friends to chat with and have a glass of wine. So my planned tasting excursion with notes, detailed pictures and profound memories soon drifted into what a festival in the end should be all about – the experience of a leasurly day with interesting cheese- and other talks, some tips where to go to next and some adresses of whom to visit in the future.
Nevertheless I recall Schärdinger´s Asmonte (a spicy hard-cheese) and Kracher ( a soft, grape-refined blue cheese) being a very nice supermarket choice, the roast- or grill cheese by Käserei Fischer a super delicious companion to your early evening glass of beer and the variety of Molkerei Tax, which for a reason has won awards with almost all their cheeses, offering the whole tasting route of fine Austrian sheep´s milk cheese.
For what it is worth, I personally fell in love with 2 of Hofkäserei Deutschmanns products – their wash rind, styrian blue cheese and their refined passito (Schilcher) blue cheese, both of which offered nice blue melts with the passito one being a little more prickely and crumbly and the wash rind being a little more smooth and classy.
As a résumé, if needed, the Voitsberg cheese festival is definitely worth going, has quiet the range of products and a very nice feel and welcoming atmosphere- all in the setting of a medieval castle ruin.