Since 1995, Sennerei Hittisau has been producing Hittisau, a regional specialty made exclusively from heumilch (“hay-milk”) in the Bregenz region of Austria.
In the summer, each small herd (5-10 cows) of Brown Swiss cows graze on Alpine pasture, while cut grass is dried into hay for winter. This diet of fresh pasture and hay allows for silage free feed, and very healthy herds. Each day the Sennerei collects milk from its 160 member farmers, located within a few miles of the dairy.
The milk is processed by two master cheesemakers, who make the regionally named Hittisau, along with a traditional Emmentaler, and butter.
Hittisau is made with raw cow milk in large, 65 lb forms. The curd is cooked, pressed and brined similarly to other Alpine style cheeses. Aged a minimum of 5 months, Hittisau develops occasional small to medium sized eyes, a semi firm texture, and delicate flavor notes of fresh cut grass and wild flowers.
In 1977, representatives from the Bregenz region of Austria founded a village dairy in Hittisau to bring together farmers from surrounding hamlets. They began making Emmentaler, a regionally popular cheese supported by the Swiss Cheese Union. In 1995, the dairy transitioned into making a new cheese, Hittisau, to represent the milk of their region and the vision of their dairy. This cheese became an overwhelming regional success, and focus shifted from Emmentaler to Hittisau, with additional butter production.
Using the milk from 160 farms for Hittisau and 70 for Emmentaler and Butter production, Sennerei Hittisau processes 5,500,500 kg of silage free milk each year. The Sennerei is GMO free certified, as well.
10 people work at Sennerei Hittisau, 8 of the employees are part time.
The dairy prides itself on sourcing exclusively heumilch from Hochhaederich, an Alpine peak known as a great grazing area in the region. Cows graze on terpine rich Alpine pasture in Spring and Summer, while feasting on summer hay in the winter.
FORMAT 65lb Tomme
TYPE Cooked/Pressed Washed Rind
MILK Unpasteurized cows milk Brown Swiss/Braunvvieh 160 Contributing herds
RENNET Traditional Calf Rennet
PRODUCER Mathias Greber Otto Berkmann Joe Neyer Sennerei Hittisau
REGION Vorarlberg State, Austria
AGE 5 months+
PROFILE Hittisau has a sturdy, slightly tacky rind. The paste is firm and smooth,
with occasional small and medium eyes. Flavors are mild, yet interesting, evoking
notes of wild flowers and fresh cut grass.