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Cheesemaker's style salad

For 4 people: 2 shallots, red wine vinegar, 1 fresh green lettuce of 1. Goodness; sea salt, 2 to 3 tablespoons Crème Double.

Also 1 small baguette, 1 stubble hops of about 250 g or also a similar cheese (Munster, Romadour, Limburger) of the same quality. Or (instead of bread) jacket potatoes from the day before; olive oil, pepper.

Peel the shallots and cut into fine rings, separating the rings. In a large salad bowl, mix the shallot rings with enough vinegar to cover them. To soften the shallots, let them marinate for at least 15 minutes; 4 hours won't hurt at all.

For the croutons, cut the bread diagonally into slices about 2 thick, top with cheese, and bake under a hot broiler. Or peel the jacket potatoes, cut into thick slices, place in an oiled ovenproof dish, cover with cheese slices, pepper, drizzle a little oil over and bake in the oven over top heat until lightly gratinated.

Before serving, add the lettuce, well washed, spun dry and picked into bite-sized pieces, to the bowl, stir and add salt.

Add the créme double gradually, it should lightly coat the leaves. Season to taste, divide among plates and serve with croutons baked in the meantime or potatoes au gratin.

 

At the Demeter cheese farm Zorn in Heidenroth

Wide the view reaches into the country. Not only over the "Blaue Ländchen" between Taunushöhen and Rheingau away, but deep into the Hunsrück. Hill chain follows hill chain, the Rhine ditch disappears in it. Here, at an altitude of about 450 m, forty dairy cows and two goats graze. The fact that they also enjoy the wide view over mountains and valleys is obviously so good for the milk quality that cheeses of extraordinary quality can be produced at Hof Zorn. They are raw milk cheeses, and their cute names certainly don't want to deceive about a lack of quality.

Kathinka Goetz and Tobias Müller set the tone here, she is a nutritionist, he a trained farmer by profession. When they moved to the farm in 1987, they still had to build a house, a cheese dairy and a bakery. Müller set about making cheese, and his hand quickly showed itself to be in favour of it. Not only was his masterpiece a soft blue cheese of the Gorgonzola type; he and his employees prove their skill every day and do not get bogged down in an overly broad product range.

They rather limit themselves to 3 types of cheese (250 g each), which nevertheless stand up to any comparison. They are called "Stoppelhopser", a kind of Romadour or particularly spicy Munster; then "Zornickel", a Camembert without fault, and "Zornella" finally, a semi-hard cheese. The master thinks little of the fact that this is also enriched with all kinds of additives, but the customers think a lot. They do not deal with hard cheese; according to Tobias Müller, they understand more about it in the Alps.

Since only the forty cows and a few fattening cattle have to be fed with what grows on the approximately 80 hectares, there is grain for bread, which is baked in the wood-fired oven and turns out as pleasing as the cheese. Both the crusty mixed bread and the aromatic, fluffy yet substantial white bread à la ciabatta (that is, baked after a particularly long dough), together with the cheese and farm-fresh milk, make for breads that are remembered fondly and for a long time.

The principle of Demeter farms, not only to farm organically, but also to feel committed to the "development of the living on earth", "which is also shaped by cosmic and spiritual forces", bears good fruit at Hof Zorn.

Of his "Stoppelhopser" Müller himself says, he "springs at you", at advanced maturity especially. But then it is just right for gratinating white bread or jacket potatoes. Together with - what could be better? - Cheesemaker-style salad, a captivatingly simple preparation that originated in Auvergne, it makes a delightful meal.

 

DEMETER-Hof Zorn

Kathinka Goetz and Tobias Müller

At the Ganswiese (signposted)

65321 Heidenrod-Zorn (near Bad Schwalbach)

Tel: 06775-1503, Fax: 960278

Internet: <link http: www.hofzorn.de _blank>www.hofzorn.de

from Waldemar Thomas