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Schabziger / Sap Sago

Producer
Glarner Schabziger
Country
Switzerland
Region
Canton of Glarus
Size
1.5 ins diameter, 3 ins high.
Weight
3oz
Website
Milk
Cow
Classification
Firm
Rennet
True Vegetable
Rind
Flavored

Produced in the Canton of Glarus in Switzerland, Schabziger - which is marketed under the name Sap Sago in the USA - is produced from skimmed cows milk with the addition of a particular herb known as blue fenugreek, a variety of clover, that gives the cheese a pale green tint. Schabziger is something of an acquired taste.

Records of the cheese's production date back to the 8th century when it was first manufactured by the monks of Glarus. However, the recipe was formally laid down in 1463 when it was decreed that in order to be called Schabziger, it had to be marked with a stamp. This makes it one of the earliest protected name cheeses in existence.

For production, the milk is heated to 194 F (90 C) at which point acidity is introduced to the vat to cause the mixture to curdle (similar to ricotta production). The curd is removed and pressed into cones to drain. After unmolding, the cheeses are matured for between 4-12 weeks and dried before being ground into a powder, mixed with salt and then matured for a further 8 month in silos.

At this point the expensive blue fenugreek is added which results in a sage-like flavor and pale lime color. The mixture is pressed into molds to become hard 3oz. (85 gram) cones, called "stockli", which are wrapped in silver foil.

Traditionally, Schabziga is either grated over food or grated and mixed with butter to produce a paste which is then spread onto bread or crackers.

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