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Donkey cheese!

kattyeyes Dec 12, 2012 12:04 PM

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.

  1. c
    chefathome Dec 18, 2012 03:59 PM

    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
      kattyeyes Dec 18, 2012 06:09 PM

      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
        sunshine842 Dec 18, 2012 10:47 PM

        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
          chefathome Dec 20, 2012 05:29 PM

          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
            kattyeyes Dec 20, 2012 06:14 PM

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

            1. re: kattyeyes
              chefathome Dec 21, 2012 10:22 AM

              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
                sunshine842 Dec 21, 2012 10:59 AM

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

                1. re: sunshine842
                  chefathome Dec 21, 2012 11:00 AM

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

      2. c
        cheesemaestro Dec 18, 2012 03:47 PM

        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: cheesemaestro
          Ruth Lafler Dec 19, 2012 06:32 PM

          The make cheese from yak's milk, too.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            cheesemaestro Dec 20, 2012 07:41 AM

            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
              Ruth Lafler Dec 20, 2012 10:24 AM

              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
                cheesemaestro Dec 20, 2012 12:22 PM

                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: cheesemaestro
                  Ruth Lafler Dec 20, 2012 12:38 PM

                  Yeah, but the guy who was really pushing/marketing it in the US left.




                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    cheesemaestro Dec 20, 2012 12:58 PM

                    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
                      Ruth Lafler Dec 20, 2012 01:21 PM

                      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.

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