Käse Kober: a cheese farm founded by three friends
Käse KoberItzehoe, Germany
Markus Kober, Dobbin Lange & Hanjo Schlüter
In the far north, cheese lover Dobbin Lange became a company manager. As fate would have it, this was exactly where his long-time friend Markus Kober had been refining cheese in an affinage for nearly 20 years. They met up for a beer, and IT project manager Hanjo Schlüter joined them to complete the trio. That evening it turned out the three men had one thing in common: they all had a similar life situation. In their respective fields, each was professionally successful, but also heartily unhappy with their job. It was time for a change. The three men decided on a new beginning together. Their plan was to turn the local cheese world upside down with Markus Kober's little affinage and to become the new face of good cheese in Germany. The three-man start-up company has blossomed into a flourishing company with 15 employees in three years.
"Flavours are metabolic products of bacteria – the art is to influence them in such a way that our taste becomes completely infatuated.”
The history of German cheesemaking
What many people may not know is that up until just a few decades ago, cheese making did not exist in Germany. As opposed to cheese strongholds like France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, the preparation of cheese into an unmistakable quality product does not have an established tradition between the North Sea and the Alps. The German cheese market has also never placed much emphasis on enjoyment. Knowing this, it’s no wonder that in order to be on the safe side, top chefs have avoided cheese from Germany for a long time.
Inspired by the French
Dissatisfaction with local cheeses led the owners of Käse Kober to explore the French cheese craft of affineurs as early as the late 1990s. Years of cooperating with French affineurs who entrusted them with their cheeses for many years led them to set up their own maturing rooms and create a few kinds of cheese. Today, this has grown into a successful cheese farm with over 180 different types of high-quality cheese.
The art of cheese
Every day, the cheesemakers at Käse Kober deal with optimal maturation and the use of bacteria and cultures. But what’s equally important is the origin of the milk: the animals, the meadows and the nutrients that influence the taste of the cheese. For many of Markus’ and Dobbin’s customers, the cheese at Käse Kober is art. For the makers, it is just good, honest craftsmanship. They surround themselves with agriculture, animals and meadows. They are the farmer's and cheesemaker's permanent partners, discussing recipes, adjusting cultures, and refining aromas.