The dairy of Schafkaeserei Koster, where production of Jersey Camembert takes place, is located in a tiny area known as Faltigberg, just outside the village of Wald. This region is referred to as “the Highland of Zurich” in Switzerland.
Schafkaeserei Koster (which translates as “Sheep Milk Dairy Koster”) is owned by Franz Koster and his family who established the dairy in 1990. At first, they only worked with sheep’s milk. Then, when government restrictions were lifted and Jersey cows were allowed into Switzerland, the Kosters, being passionate devotees of the breed, were the first to buy a herd.
Realizing that they couldn’t consume all the milk the herd was producing and that it would be wasteful to just sell it to the local co-op which would just blend it with other milks, the Kosters decided to use it for cheesemaking.
The Koster dairy is still very much a family business, operated by Franz and his wife together with their grown-up daughters.
Today, in addition to making cheese from the milk of their own Jersey cows, the business also purchases Jersey milk from another herd. The Kosters continue to buy sheep’s milk, sourced from seven different flocks.
The Jersey Camembert was the first cow’s milk cheese that Franz Koster produced. He developed the recipe while experimenting with the milk
and quickly realized that its rich, buttery characteristics made it ideal for a Camembert style cheese.
Production of the Jersey Camembert takes place over 24 hours. Starter cultures are added to pasteurized milk while it is heated and, after the newly formed wheels are removed from their forms, they are given an hour-long brine bath. The next step sees the cheeses transferred to a cool ripening room for a period of about ten days and during this time, the white fluffy penicilium candidum mold beging to grow on the outside of the cheese, forming its rind.
The cheeses are wrapped in paper when they are still relatively young and firm. About one week after being wrapped, the interior texture begins to soften around the edge, becoming completely soft throughout after 22-25 days.
Flavors of the Jersey Camembert are extraordinarily complex with deep, rich notes of cream, butter, mushrooms and earth. The interior texture is a golden, butter color - a result of the carotine-rich Jersey milk - with a meltingly soft and yielding paste.
Ideal pairings for this cheese include Champagne or a dry, sparkling white wine or a Sauvignon Blanc.