The Making-Of Robert Paget
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Austria´s last Buffaloes.When talking about buffaloes, the modern European consumer pictures a Mediterranean countryside and almost impulsively adds the words ¨mozzarella di …” . This conception derives partly from the Italian skill of marketing their products, mostly however, from the effects of the Industrial Revolution. In Austria as in many other parts of Europe, the buffalo disappeared from the countryside as its traction power was substituted by machines and its milk and meat supplied by animals with higher yields.
Robert Paget is currently the only buffalo farmer in Austria. His “adventure with the buffaloes” began nine years ago when, returning from a trip to India, he decided to take the risk and start-up what nobody else had done in Austria for at least a century; a buffalo farm. To be precise – it is even more extravagant – a goat and buffalo farm. While the goats quickly found common ground with their potentially intimidating stable-mates, Robert admits, that it was a long and arduous path full of legal impediments. But his project “Water buffaloes in Diendorf” is a reality today.
Robert´s dedication to Buffaloes derives less from the will to reintroduce an abandoned animal species but from his love to their milk, which is much richer than other milk varieties. Aside from the notorious Mozzarella, Robert´s flagship must be his Camembert, really superb.
As cheese-maker, Robert is a strong believer in using raw milk as the sole resource behind his cheeses, and claims that it´s the only way to perceive the true character of his animals. His production method is very particular since he has little literature to rely on and chooses to experiment himself with these two milk-varieties and the effects of aging and other factors on his cheeses.
From stable to cheese cellar everything is done manually and with a certain pleasure in the slowness involved in the processes. As Robert told us whilst filming, Cheese-making has become for him a meditative exercise.