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Why is there no Pig Cheese?

We have goat cheese. Why not pig cheese, I thought to myself at dinner tonight? They’re on farms, and they have milk. Why no pig cheese?

Someone has asked this question before. From Uncle Ezra:

Dear Uncle Ezra,
I’ve had cow cheese, goat cheese, sheep cheese…but I’ve never heard of pig cheese. Why?

–Cheezy.

Dear Cheezy,
I passed your intriguing question along to a couple of Food Science Professors, who were not the least bit “sty”mied by it:

From Dave Barbano: “Pig milk contains about 6.8 percent fat, 2.8 percent casein, 2.0 percent whey protein, 5.5 percent lactose, and 1.0 percent ash. Thus, from a composition point of view it is a fairly rich milk. However, since the pig is a nonruminant, the milk fat will be primarily long-chain fatty acids (probably a lot of C16:0). The short-chain fatty acids that provide the typical flavor to dairy products produced from ruminant milks (e.g. cow, goat, sheep, etc.) would not be present in pig milk. The fatty acid composition of the fat in the milk from pigs will be a function of the diet of the pig, just like it is for milk fat in human milk. Thus, I don’t think there is much of a future for pig milk cheese.”

From Dave Bandler: “First of all, it would not be kosher! It would have a definite pigsty/pigpen flavor (not unlike that of aged limburger) and it would probably be hard to find enough young people willing to make a career of sow milking.”

Thanks, Dave and Dave!

However, I read here:

I propose a cheese-of-the-month club and catalog (an actual store would probably not be feasible for the small demand I anticipate) that specializes in cheeses made from the milk of exotic mammals. Think of it: March could come in like a sharp lion cheddar, and in January you could remind yourself that the ocean is even colder than where you are now with a nice killer whale gruyere.

Milk would be harvested in cooperation with local zoos and water parks, many of which already supplement their babies’ natural nursing with a fortified formula.

…I don’t know how strange this could be for most people. It is for me! Here in México pig cheese and goat cheese are very common.

Chimpanzee Brie, anyone?

And then…

Police Bust Poisonous Pig Cheese Peddlers

biohazarddisznosajt.jpgThe Hungarian health authorities have uncovered a conspiracy involving a shipment of salmonella-infected disznósajt (pork cheese) that was off-loaded to unwitting consumers in several towns in and around Pest county. According to Origo.hu, for Ft 5 million (€20,000) and a promise he wouldn’t be fired from his job, one Zsigmond Zsolt R. agreed to take responsibility for the poisonous pork-by-product-product, which even when not infected with salmonella is known to cause nausea and other unpleasant symptoms among those who consume it.

10 comments to Why is there no Pig Cheese?

  • Jim

    Finally an alternative answer becomes clear: if we let the cheese go blue, we’ll get swine flu.

  • Daniel Newman

    I like other pig based foods, I would like pig cheese please, and other exotic animal cheese.

  • Ben Birdsey

    Wouldn’t pig cheese taste exactly like rendered pig fat (i.e. like lard or bacon)? Regardless of the % of generic chemicals in the milk, the question is whether the cheese would essentially concentrate “pig flavor”, rather than any other flavor. Until one of these scientists has actually done it, there is really nothing that they can say.

    • Jim

      Well, cow cheese doesn’t taste like a hamburger. And while I’m not a cannibal, I can’t imagine people would taste like human breast milk. I love the idea of bacon and cheese flavors together, and I imagine so do a lot of other people, so you’d think that’d make pig cheese a winner — if that’s what pig cheese actually tastes like.

  • Pig Farmer

    “From Dave Bandler: “First of all, it would not be kosher! It would have a definite pigsty/pigpen flavor”

    To bad you don’t know what you’re talking about. Pigs milk does not have a pigsty/pigpen flavor. It tastes like milk. In fact, remarkably like human milk. Please actually try it before you make such a misleading statement.

  • Mark Graham

    In a town nestled in a thickly wooded valley on a volcanic slope in southern Tuscany you may be able to discover what is certainly Italy’s most closely-guarded culinary secret, a rare cheese made from pig’s milk called Porcorino (Porcherino in the local dialect).

  • Raul

    the only reason you haven’t had any is because you haven’t stumbled across it yet. You haven’t stumbled across it because it’s not terribly common.
    Tuscany produces a pig cheese, So do other areas.

  • eion

    I’m a cheese monger for a co-op in the Pacific NW, and I learned about Porcorino over a year ago. Since so many of my customers have allergies to cow’s milk cheeses, and sheep and goat milk cheeses are so common here, I was looking for an alternative to all three. Something different. So I started looking into acquiring some of it to sell in our store.
    Mark G and Raul (above) are right.
    It is considered such a delicacy by the Italians, that it rarely is sold outside the region, and *never* sold (according to my distributors) outside of Italy. I’ve yet to find anyone in the United States who make it. As for the Italians, my sources tell me that some of the same families have been making this cheese for over a millennium. Sounds to me as if folks love this cheese. I would love to try it!

  • Jim

    What interesting news from Italy! Anywhere else in the world that has a tradition of pig cheese?

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