• Andrew McKenna

Pepper cannonball to shoot soon

The Belper Knolle is a little-known dairy cheese from Belp in Switzerland. The name translates as the Belp tuber, or Tuber from Belp, not a great name in English for a cheese.

At Treetop we were intrigued by it, so have invented a vegan version. And it works. We call ours the Pepper Cannonball.

It’s a mixture of cashews, macadamias and oats, fermented with a thermophilic vegan cheese culture, then mixed with salt and garlic, rolled into a ball and then dipped in pepper.

Then it’s left to age for at least two months. In Belp they age the cheese in caves, in New Zealand we age them in the fridge, where they shrink a little, drop some moisture and harden.

As they dry they can turn into an irregular shape, a bit like a truffle!

The pepper doesn’t dominate the flavour, which is rich and full. You can scrape the pepper off or leave it where it is. The cheese grates beautifully and melts in a toasted sandwich. And it improves with age.

One slight drawback is it doesn’t remain hard out of the fridge, so use it and then put it straight back in. But the flavor is rich, creamy, and cheesy.

The affineurs in Belp also make a blue cheese called the Belper Hirne, or the Belp Brain, a blue cheese shaped, you guessed, like a brain. Good blue vegan cheeses are still a way off, but the cannonball is coming.

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