Photo by Tania Castellví
Move over, fromage – Fritz Blomeyer is showing Berliners that the best cheese comes from their own backyard.
“I’m in utter disbelief every time I say this, but I’m the only person in Germany who really concentrates on German cheese,” Fritz Blomeyer says. He’s spent the past six years distributing and cultivating markets for niche cheeses from all over the country. He’s discerning in picking out his small farms and cheeseries, from Capriolenhof an der Schleuse Regow in northeast Germany, which makes some of his favourite goat cheese, to Geifertshofen, which produces complex, hard cow Dorfkäse cheese in Swabia. “When the product is right, and the philosophy is right, which includes for me how you keep your animals, then we can talk about working together,” he says. If he’s too busy to inspect a new producer himself, his mother goes in his stead.
Born in Berlin and raised in the Saxony countryside, Blomeyer had his professional epiphany after returning here and pondering: “What am I missing in Berlin? And that was good German cheese.” He left law school to become an affineur, a cheese master. With official training only available in France, and Blomeyer’s French “near to nonexistent,” he created his own three-year apprenticeship, convincing five of Germany’s best cheesemakers, in his estimation, to let him learn from them. Through it all, he worked with Sonnenreich, a Prenzlauer Berg wine shop. “Every time I would come back to Berlin, I’d present them with the cheeses I’d worked with, and they would come up with wines that would go with them.” Blomeyer still sells his cheese at the shop every Wednesday, but now his Geifertshofen Dorfkäse and more can be found on menus at the Bird, Weinbar Rutz, Pauly Saal, and, outside Berlin, at three-Michelin-starred Bareiss in Baiersbronn. Upon inquiring about the excellent cheese he was eating at Wilmersdorf restaurant Bieberbau, the celebrated chef Marco Müller, of Rutz, became a believer, asking “Who the hell is Blomeyer?”
Blomeyer believes Berliners’ interest in German cheese is growing. In fact, he’s banking on it: at the end of April, he opened his own shop in Charlottenburg, moving his maturation process from “very unromantic fridges” to proper cheese chambers and offering up the country's best Käse five days a week.
Originally published in Issue #135, February 2015.