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Dec 12, 2012 12:04 PM

Donkey cheese!

No assin' around, I'm compelled to share these articles. Donkey cheese is the real deal, brought to you by Serbian tennis star Nole Djokovic:




I'm fairly certain I'll never get a sample, but it's interesting nonetheless.

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  1. The articles you cited make a big deal about how much donkey's milk is needed to make a kilo (2.2 lb.) of cheese. Donkey's milk, like the similar mare's milk, is considerably lower in both protein and fat than the milk of a cow, goat, or sheep, so more is needed per kilo of cheese. For example, about three times as much donkey's milk as cow's milk is needed to make a given amount of cheese. That's quite a bit more, but it clearly can't account by itself for the staggering difference in price between the donkey cheese and the average cow's milk cheese. i'm sure that part of the reason is that a donkey gives only about a cup of milk a day, so you have to milk a hell of a lot of donkeys to make cheese. Also, with only one place making this cheese from an unusual milk, they can charge what they want and attract people who will pay a small fortune for something unique.

    Cheeses are also made from camel, reindeer and moose milk. The moose milk cheese, like the donkey cheese, is reputedly made by a single farm (in Sweden). It costs almost as much as the donkey cheese. I haven't sampled it, and like you, I probably never will.

    7 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Indeed. Tibetan yak's milk cheese was available in the US about 10 years ago. I bought it a couple of times back then, but haven't seen it here in years.

        1. re: cheesemaestro

          I actually was at a dinner with the guy who was teaching Tibetans to make yak's milk cheese as a cash product. The growing season in Tibet is very short, so they have excess milk for a short period of time but had no way to preserve it (which is what, after all, aged cheeses are) and no tradition of cheese making. That was about 10 or eleven years ago. Apparently the program came acropper due to some kind of personality/political differences I'm not privy too.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I'm not sure exactly what happened. Yak cheese is also made in Nepal. There have been more recent efforts in western China and in Mongolia. Here's an article on the Mongolian project, a joint undertaking with Europeans:


            And another article on yak cheese in western China, an effort begun with the assistance of a dairy professor from the University of Wisconsin:


              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Jonathan White, the guy behind the Tibetan yak cheese, now makes cheese in northwestern NJ at Bobolink Dairy. He still uses the same domain name for Bobolink (http://www.cowsoutside.com) and keeps the page on the Tibetan project for historical reasons, I suppose.

                1. re: cheesemaestro

                  Yes, I didn't mean to imply the page was current, only that it reflects what was going on 10 years ago, when both you and I had access to the cheese.

                  I've been to Bobolink. He's pretty passionate about what he does, although apparently he's pissed off plenty of people who consider him a shameless self-promoter.

    1. When I saw the cheese in Croatia at a truffle/food festival, I bypassed it but did try the milk and salami. Not my favourite I must say (on both counts). Intriguing, though.

      7 Replies
      1. re: chefathome

        Oh, no, they made salami from the donkey? The milk I'd wonder what it tastes like--if you can even describe it--but salami? :(

        1. re: kattyeyes

          truthfully? it doesn't taste any different from the other salamis, so I didn't want to spend the extra money on it.

          (Horsemeat salami has a weird twang to it -- but I'll stand on my head for duck or wild boar versions.)

          1. re: kattyeyes

            It was quite a lot stronger than other salami I've had - sort of like horse. It wasn't bad, just not my favourite. Thankfully they were free samples so I did not have to pay for the experience. The milk was...uh..strong and musty and barnyard-y but not in a good way like goat cheese. It was not loathesome but not lovely, either.

            ETA: I forgot this - we also sampled donkey mortadella. A little different than usual...

            1. re: chefathome

              AYEEEEEEE! "Sort of like horse!" Well, I asked and I appreciate the report and your honesty. :(

              1. re: kattyeyes

                But it's still worth a try. I'm game to try nearly everything once. If you see it, try it. It is, well, flavourful. :)

                1. re: chefathome

                  Here, they'd say it's "very special" -- which has become a running joke at our house.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Funny. In that case, the donkey products I have tried are "very, VERY special".