One of the main objectives of the Dairy Centre is to promote joint work between the different producers and agents that make up the dairy sector, creating a broad and diverse network of relationships. Knowing the reality of the sector closely and having the greatest number of different references helps us increase knowledge and identify new challenges in the short and long term.
Following this objective, at the end of September we had the opportunity to travel to Hungary invited by the Hungarian cheese dairy association MAGYAR SAJTKÉSZITÖK EGYESULETE. On September 29, the 11. MAGYAR SAJTMUSTRA, the 11th edition of the Hungarian cheese championship, was held in the village of Etyek.
According to data provided by the organization, in this edition more cheeses were presented than ever, 169 in total. Mostly produced with cow’s milk, but also goat and sheep cheeses, distributed in the 35 categories defined in the championship. The jury was made up of 38 professional judges, 5 of them from abroad and among them a representative of our Dairy Centre. It was a great opportunity for us to learn about and taste very interesting cheeses. In Hungary there are hardly any traditional cheeses and dairies, based on the types of reference cheeses in Europe, develop and produce characteristic cheeses adapted to their context, completing a very enriching commercial offer.
In addition to the championship, a professional meeting aimed at the dairy sector was organized on the same day, in which different technical topics were discussed by different speakers. In this technical day our Dairy Centre also had a direct participation by giving a talk on cheese ripening or aging. Among the rest of the speakers was Bronwen Percival, writer of the book “Reinventing the Wheel.” She has many years of experience in the cheese´s world and a deep knowledge of milk and its microbes, and she defends what she believes is a “real” cheese.
On the other hand, the day before the championship and the technical sessions were held, we had the opportunity to visit 5 dairies thanks to the guided tours that the association organized expressly for the speakers. Dairies visited were:
Paraszt Sajt: they grown alfalfa, grass hay, wheat, barley oats and corn on the farm to feed their Magyartarka cows and from their milk, they produce semihard and hard cheeses taking as reference cheeses from France and Switzerland.
Apis Farm: they started their activity in 2016 with 10 goats. They currently have 40 goats and 6 cows on their family farm which milk is transformed into all types of cheeses: camembert, brie, raclette, etc. style cheeses.
Breier Farm: in addition to producing cheese, they also produce fruit and meat products. As for milk, they give great importance to feed, prioritizing grass and keeping the cows grazing in the fields between spring and autumn. In addition to semihard and hard cheeses, they also produce butter and yogurt.
Ezüst Kecske: since 2010 they have worked on the family farm, taking care of their 150 Alpine goats, and making, among others, yogurt, quark, cream cheese, soft cheeses and semi-hard cheeses with their milk. This last type of cheese is a 10 kg wheel, produced with the same cultures as for parmesan cheese and it has washed rind.
Hegedüs Sajtmühely: father and daughter are in charge of this family dairy. Since 2008, they transform 60,000 Liters of milk per year into 7 different types of cheese.
Thank you very much to the Hungarian cheese dairy association, MAGYAR SAJTKÉSZITÖK EGYESULETE, for giving us the opportunity to get to know the dairy sector of your great country up close. Congratulations for all the work done!