"Niseko Fromage" - A delicious treat made with cheese only available in Niseko!
In Hokkaido, where dairy production is abundant, there are many natural cheese production workshops. Today I'd like to introduce the "Niseko Fromage" cheeses.
This workshop, located at the foot of the Higashiyama mountain ski district, produces cheeses with a local flair.
Many different cheeses are produced here, from mozzarella string cheese, to full-bodied Camembert. Each has a distinct sweetness and smell due to the fresh local milk used.
From fresh to ripened cheese, you can view the whole selection in the shop's display case.
The high-quality milk used in the cheese production in Niseko is what gives it its great taste. Every day the workshop carries out the squeezing and pasteurizing that begins the process of making new cheeses.
▲Three kinds of string cheese (on the right). The delicious wild garlic string cheese, as well as the "Niseko Wash" (pictured front left) have won the ALL JAPAN Natural Cheese award of excellence.
One of the most unique cheeses available is "Crispy Cheese" which has been produced at Niseko Fromage for ten years. The crunchy texture is apparent from the first bite, which make it perfect for a crushed up salad topping or as a snack while drinking. This popular cheese was actually first created by accident. When unusable cheese was created during a trial and error process, the workshop tried to find a way to make use of it. They decided to bake it and soon it was popular enough to become a full fledged product.
▲There are three flavors of crispy cheese available, with a fourth on the way this summer! (Left to right: Spicy, Sankai, Plain)
▲Niseko Fromage representative Seki Akira. When I visited he was making some Habachi cheese.
The cheese is handmade by Mr. Seki. He has loved making food from a young age, and after marrying into a dairy farming family he decided to start working with cheese. After studying at the Cheese Factory in Setana Town he launched his first workshop in Yoichi, after which he moved to Niseko. He explained that his handmade cheese "has an individual style" which makes it unlike any other cheese around.
"For example, a Camembert cheese which, without any heat treatment, gets its flavor from mold growth. This means that depending on when you eat it, the flavor will be unique. The milk used will add a unique flavor to the cheese depending on the season it was taken, so even the same cheese will have a new taste depending on when it's made!"
▲Mr. Seki used to be a member of a snowboard team. He served as a coach for the Japanese snowboarding team during the Nagano Olympics.
During the summer season I recommend trying the Camembert and Habachi double cheese soft cream. If you have a chance to visit Niseko, be sure to pick some up!
※The cheese is also available through local shipping. (Orders are accepted by Fax.)
●ニセコフロマージュ (Niseko Fromage)
(27-3 Higashiyama, Niseko)
Hours of Operation:
Summer Season- 10:00 to 6:00 daily.
Winter Season- 10:00 to 7:00. Closed Wednesday and Thursday.
※Information current as of April, 2013.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Chikki)
Photographs provided by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Megane.