Cheese / Käse

***** Location: Europe, worldwide
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Humanity


Cheese has come to Japan rather late and is not included in the traditional Saijiki.
But we do have some seasonal cheese dishes from Europe and other parts of the world.

Thanks to Isabelle Prondzynski

Of course we can eat cheese at any time of the year, but some just taste better in a certain season.


Cheese is a solid food made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep and other mammals, by coagulating the milk. This is accomplished by first acidification with a bacterial culture and then employing an enzyme, rennet (or rennet substitutes) to coagulate the milk to "curds and whey."
The precise bacteria and processing of the curds play a role in defining the texture and flavor of most cheeses. Some cheeses also feature molds, either on the outer rind or throughout.

There are hundreds of types of cheese produced all over the world.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


kigo for summer

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Greek feta cheese フェタチーズ
in a salad with fresh tomatoes and olive oil

Feta is an aged crumbly cheese, commonly produced in blocks, and has a slightly grainy texture. It is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads (e.g the Greek salad), pastries and in baking, notably in the popular phyllo-based dishes spanakopita ("spinach pie") and tyropita ("cheese pie") and combined with olive oil and vegetables. It can also be served cooked or grilled, as part of a sandwich or as a salty alternative to other cheeses in a variety of dishes.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


kigo for winter

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Raclette (Swiss)

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Cheese fondue (Swiss)

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Stracchino (Italy)


Why had I never yet included cheese in a haiku... ...
I love cheese, so it is not that!

It must be that I have never yet thought about cheese in the context of the seasons.

In Kenya, cheese is rather good, but varieties are few, and volume is low. Cheese is simply too expensive for the large majority of Kenyans... and if it became affordable, there would not be the volume of milk to make it, Kenya having by nature insufficient reliable rainfall.

In Europe though, it struck me that some types of cheese are kigo.

Take Raclette, a gorgeous Swiss cheese which comes to our shops in winter time. Some of my friends have special electric grill-type appliances, allowing a party of 6 or 8 people to melt slices of Raclette in tiny dishes also containing hot boiled potatoes, salami, mushrooms, ham and anything else one's heart could possibly desire. Raclette and a white wine make for an entertaining evening among friends, and the heat of the cheese plus the electric heater make one feel warm right through!

Cheese fondue (also using Raclette as one of its main ingredients) is another typical winter cheese dish (and one of my top favourites!).

Raclette virtually disappears from the shops during summer time.

Another winter cheese is the Italian Stracchino, a soft mellow cheese with a very short shelf life. It does not well survive the transport routes during summer, and the Italian market traders who are the best source for this cheese in Brussels, just do not stock it then.

I cannot right now think of any summer cheeses (all of them, of course!), but perhaps the equivalent is whipped cream, such a popular addition to summer fruit such as strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants, and again for the autumn apple and blackberry crumbles and pies.

Making my mouth water!

Isabelle Prondzynski


Worldwide use


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Cheese Market in Alkmaar, Kaas Markt in Alkmaar

Gouda cheese ...
my stomach scribbles
its own haiku

Here in The Netherlands, we have wat we call 'oude kaas', or old cheese, verrrrry very ripe cheese, dark yellow in colour, with a sharp taste. Very yummy, definitely. However, the fat content is 48%, which is not good for your cholesterol, especially if you're middle-aged and older, so I seldom buy it these days.

Goat cheese is also gaining in popularity. Not too long ago, our Bettina Grand Crue won the international 'Grand Prix' goat cheese competition, and if you ever visit, I can even take you to the farm where it's produced.

In The Philippines, we have what we call 'kesong puti' or 'white cheese', which is made from carabao milk. A carabao is a water buffalo, the ones with the horns that help plow the rice fields. Memory tells me that that is (for me, at least) super yummy, and unfortunately unavailable in Europe.

Back here, we also have cheese from Edam and Alkmaar, and Leerdam, and recently a new kind from Beemster.

And then you have all the imported ones -- Camembert, Brie, Danish Blue, Feta, and so on.

And now, too, a sudden memory from childhood -- cheddar cheese, as introduced by the US, usually in thick slices and often processed with ham, among others. Very heavy on the stomach.

Somehow, though, I can't think of cheese in connection with kigo because, seasonal or not, they're usually available the whole year round.

Happy eating!

Ella Wagemakers



chiizu チーズ cheese

. History of Milk and Cheese in Japan

. So そ 蘇(そ)酥 / 蘇 milk products of the Asuka period



Gjetost (pronounced ‘yet-oast’)
is a unique brown cheese from Norway with a fudge-like texture and a sweet caramel flavour.

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It is made from a combination of milk, cream and whey which is slowly cooked until the naturally occurring sugars are caramelised, giving its distinctive colour and taste. The cheese is then cooled and set into blocks.
Gjetost was first made in the Gudbrandsdalen valley in Norway more than 130 years ago. Anne Hov, a farmer’s wife, was the first person to think of pouring cream into the kettle of whey. Her brown cheese got a higher price than her ordinary cheese and butter, and is reputed to have saved the valley from financial ruin in the 1880s.

Gjetost is best served in wafer thin slices and eaten on toast or Norwegian flatbread (very thin crackers). It is also makes a great addition to a cheese board or melted into a variety of food dishes.

Things found on the way


eating feta cheese,
duct tape diffy-q's cell phone;
I spy gossamer?

© by hazel

Related words

***** Food from India

***** Food from Japan (Washoku Saijiki)

***** Sweets from Japan (wagashi)



Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of a hot summer day and cheese stuffed apples.
After the apple is cored it is stuffed with camembert, mixed with a little cream cheese and white wine, chilled then cut in wedges... Yum.


Anonymous said...

Raclette is quite typical of winter, yes, but if you look at the recipe section of the Raclette Australia site, or read their book you will find out that raclette is far more than the cheese used often in winter... It is a whole lifestyle/experience thing that different European countries are interpreting quite differently. Very interesting!

Gabi Greve said...

Thanks Anne !

This looks quite delicious indeed !

A Raclette Lifestyle !

that is almost as interesting as a

Haiku Lifestyle !


Anonymous said...

waning year
the cheese ball
changes shape

George Hawkins