Saturday, 24 January 2009

Cheese and the meaning of the universe

Today I was reminded of a conversation I had with a local baker of German extraction. Occasionally we buy pastries or rye bread from him. The conversation concerned Quark. That is quark singular, not the plural sub atomic particle variety.
New Zealand is famous for the quality of its milk, it being the home of happy cows which graze on pastures rather than on feed or straw. It is one of the reasons we have the best coffee on the planet……..but, I digress.
Quark is an essential ingredient for most Central European pastries, whether cheesecakes, schnecken or other amazing confections.
The baker and I got chatting about cheese. New Zealand produces a lot of it, but there is only a small percentage of the production which I would consider premium. The Blue Ribbon quality is made by immigrant Greeks, French and Israelis. Amazing, considering the quality of the raw product. The baker and I are both immigrants and bemoaned the absence of many varieties of cheese we are used to from the N. Hemisphere. This baker claims to purchase the biggest volume of quark in the country, but its only producer didn’t make it to his exacting standards, so he flew his pastry baker to the S. Island to teach him how to do it.
Now what set off this train of thought? Well, our large tom cat has a Central European name. This lunchtime, he decided to join us for lunch in our back garden and snack on the leftovers of cottage cheese. He loved it and kept coming back for more. We may have to change his name back to the one he came with when we adopted him. Kiwi Terence fits at cottage cheese eating cat far better than Herr Otto Richter von Fuenf.

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