High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada.
Interest: general mountaineering/ hiking/ backpacking/ skiing/ kayaking
I guess I should have done my homework before asking about backpacking cheese and specifically about raw milk cheeses.
It looks like raw milk cheeses are typically hard, aged cheeses like the cheddar types and most, but not all, such as the soft veined cheeses like Roguefort are also sometimes made from raw milk.
From what I can gather, pretty much all cheeses made before about 1870 were made from raw milk. Almost all cheeses made in North America are now made from pasturized milk, although some artisian cheese company's make products from raw milk.
On Vancouver Island, the Qualicum Cheese Works makes a hard Cheddar like cheese, called “Rathtrevor”, a flavourfull medium hard cheese, called “Raclette” and a soft veined cheese called “Blue Claire”, all made from raw milk. I have eaten these cheeses and will continue to eat them.
As backpackers, we need cheese that will stand up to warm summer temperatures. These are either the naturally made cheeses, and better yet, the ones that are individually packaged in a two bite sized packages, such as the Balderson or the Apple smoked Cheddar cheeses.
Personally, I find the processed cheeses like “Baby Del” and one of Dru's favorites, “Swiss Knight” to be too tasteless, or fake tasting and “gummy” in texture. I'd rather bring a cheese that had flavour, opposed to one that kept better.
On another note, the very best Camembert cheese that I have ever eaten was not from France (and I have been to the region and eaten the local cheese, in season), but rather from the Rouge & Noir cheese company in Marin County, California. They have been in production since 1865 and their Camembert has the smell and runs at room temp, as well if not better, than that from France.