Organic mountain farm | St.Daniel
“A good flavour, but not too tangy!" – this is how cheese should taste like, according to Hubert Zankl. As we know, tastes differ, but everyone here agrees: The Zankl Family’s cheese is simply delicious. It is now 28 years ago that Hubert and his wife, Barbara, assumed responsibility for the parental farm. It was clear from the start: “If we take this on, then only as full-time farmers." The concept was based on cheese and it was the right decision.
A small cheese dairy was quickly built and the business could start to process fresh hay milk from the ten farm-own cows. They produce three varieties of cheese: hard cheese – the so-called Gailtal Valley Mountain Cheese, a semi-hard cheese with a red mould – called Farm Cheese, and a soft cheese, which the Zankls call Camemberg. In figures, this means 25,000 litres of milk per year are turned into golden-yellow specialities. It is not unusual that cheese is made on the farm two weeks on the trot during peak times.
The finished product is delivered directly to various regular customers in the region and by forwarder to selected hotels and gastronomy establishments. Hubert Zankl knows that his raw milk cheese is trendy. According to the cheese expert, the raw product must be flawless, thus the slightly tangy specialities are acceptable also for his own fine palate: ”Our cows are out and about on the lush Gailtal Valley meadows day and night. This is where the best ingredients grow. The cows are only taken to the shed for milking. Carefully harvested hay is added to the feeding troughs in winter. Our cows are not fed on silage, and we have been one of the first organic businesses since 1981." Hubert and Barbara learnt the art of making cheese on a Gailtal Valley pasture in courses in Germany and Austria and through self-study: ”Learning by doing plus some creativity for new cheese varieties as well as the necessary maturing time – and the cheese is ready for tasting." This alone is reason enough to visit the Zankl Family. The best way to do this is in combination with the Slow Food experience programmes, where you have the opportunity to make your own fresh cheese on the farm to take home. A delightful experience all along the line. The talent for delightful products has been passed on to Lukas, the youngest of the family of six, who is already heavily involved in the business and will run the farm one day.