"Cheese is my passion"
Roswitha Boppeler has been bringing Allgäu cheese specialities to Berlin as an exhibitor in the Bavaria Hall for 25 years. The likeable woman in the dirndl has already welcomed numerous ministers of agriculture and foreign delegations to her stand. The renowned cheese sommelier observes: The trend is towards savoury varieties. In this interview, she gives tips on how to eat cheese properly and explains what ingredients a good cheese needs.
Mrs Boppeler, congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the fair. What significance does the International Grüne Woche have for you?
Berlin and the Green Week are a highlight in my annual diary. You're ready to go afterwards, but when the preparations are underway, you're really looking forward to it. My highlight is the loyal customers who come specifically to our stand. The conversations are simply what fascinate me, as well as the music and the good atmosphere in the Bayern-Halle.
Are consumers today more interested in where their food comes from?
Definitely. Many people ask how the cheese is made and how the animals are kept. It's important to know the individual farmers and cheese dairies. The organic show dairy in Wiggensbach, which I represent here, is a relatively small operation. 20 farmers supply their hay milk. You can taste this quality, because a good raw material is the basic prerequisite for a good cheese. The farmer is also responsible for animal husbandry. The Allgäu is known for the good herbs and grasses that the cows get to eat here. Then, of course, you need a good cheesemaker who can make good cheese and store it properly.
What are your bestsellers?
In the past, people tended to buy the mild varieties. We are now seeing a clear trend towards more flavoursome varieties, i.e. long-ripened cheeses such as the mild mountain cheese, which is aged for six months to two years. Our horn cheese made from organic hay milk from horned cows is also a real classic. The "Red Cassanova" is also very popular. This year I recommend the "Glücksmomente kräftig". Those who prefer a mild flavour can try the "Gute Laune" with herbs or the "Urigen Allgäuer".
You are a trained cheese sommelier. What tips do you give customers?
Cheese is my passion, I know my way around it. I completed my training in 2010. At the time, it was only available in Austria. That already bothered me back then. I then initiated the training of cheese sommeliers in Germany in 2012. I have accompanied more than 15 courses as a lecturer. Cheese must always be tempered. Many people eat it straight from the fridge. That's okay for fresh cheese, but long-ripened cheeses or wine cheeses should be taken out of the fridge at least an hour beforehand. Then they have the full flavour. Cheese needs warmth, that's very important.
Visitors can discover Mrs Boppeler and the other exhibitors in the Bavaria Hall in Hall 22b.