Jachenau is a small community in the southernmost, sunny corner of the Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen district. Sepp Orterer, a professional farmer and the 18th generation of his family to farm, puts on plastic overshoes and a hair net before he enters his cheese dairy to get on with the weekly task of making his mountain cheese from Jachenau. He produces three-and-a-half tons of semi-hard Tilsit-style cheese a year. It is appreciated by gourmets from all over southern Germany.
First of all, Sepp Orterer carefully heats 350 litres of milk, stirring all the while. The dairy's windows steam up, and they are soon dripping with condensation. The dairy becomes as hot and as humid as a steam bath. At just the right moment, Sepp Orterer adds rennet and lactic acid bacteria to gradually separate the curdled milk. Small crumbs of cheese, the so-called curd, separate from the whey.
At the same time, and more than fifty kilometres away from Sepp's farm, the Langerbauernhof, the female farmer dressed in the traditional apron dress on duty that day says to one of her regular customers: "Take the mountain cheese from Jachenau, it's the best one there is!" A total change of scenery: the Viktualienmarkt food market in Munich's historic city centre. The mountain cheese from Jachenau is a bestseller at the Tölzer Kasladen market stall. Hardly surprising: the cheese is gentle on the palate as its dry mass contains at least 50% fat. It leaves a pleasant, toasty aroma and is firm yet also creamy. It reminds some people of buttermilk. Others liken its aftertaste to the fragrance of a summer's day on the Alpine pastures.
But how did this farmer actually get involved in cheese making? Fifteen years ago, Sepp Orterer had the idea that many people enjoy taking a souvenir home with them. Something edible, to bring some of the holiday mood into their everyday lives. That was the initial trigger. Ever since, Sepp Orterer has been making cheese from the raw milk of the cows he keeps at his farm in Jachenau; it simply couldn't be any fresher. His enthusiasm for cheese making is as genuine as the lactic acid bacteria in his pots, and as authentic as the landscape he sees as he goes about his job.
The other day, he discovered his cheese in a Munich delicatessen - and rejoiced inside. Nowadays, whenever a holidaymaker asks him for a souvenir, a "holiday extension aid", he simply walks over to his fridge and gives this holidaymaker one of his cheeses.