Belper Knolle (pronounced “Can-o-le”) is the invention of cheesemaker Herr Glauser at his small dairy located in the town of Belp just outside Berne in Switzerland. Translated, the name literally means “The Tuber from Belp” which is a reference to its truffle-like appearance.
First created in 1993, Belper Knolle is made from raw cow’s milk that has been rolled in a spicy mix of powdered Himalayan salt, local garlic and Oberland pepper. Glauser, who comes from a third generation cheesemaking family, specifically made the cheese with a view to grating or shaving and, for this reason alone, it is very popular with both home cooks and chefs.
Milk for production is sourced from local herds of Simmental cows and delivered directly to the dairy where it is neither heated or cooled, but made directly into cheese at “milking temperature”. After the small spheres are formed by hand, they are rolled in the garlic and spice mix before being taken downstairs to age in the cellar.
This aging room has a particularly steady natural stream of air running through it, providing ideal conditions for the cheese.
Belper Knolle is generally sold at one of two different stages. At an age of about nine weeks, some cheeses are sold locally when they’re still relatively young and semi-firm. These can be consumed either as a piquant table cheese or used in hot pasta or risotto etc.
Others are kept for much longer – up to twelve months. At this stage, the cheese is rock hard in texture and impossible to slice, making it only suitable for shaving or grating.
Despite the dry paste, Belper Knolle at this age has an amazingly intense flavor. The mouthfeel and taste are initially almost cream-like and then the full force of the spices kicks in.