The Chinese make cheese

Cheese in China: The Beijingers love "smelly foreigner quark"

In Sanyuanli, not far from the diplomatic quarter, more than 150 stalls offer everything that Chinese housewives and foreign gourmets like. It is the capital's oldest private food market. But now there is something completely new between the stands of the soybean dealers. Something that continues to amaze people here. Laughing, one of the market women points to a neighboring shop. "There you can get Guoji-style choudoufu," she says happily. Foreign, stinking bean curd is called. Ms. Lisa already let you try the strange specialty, says the market woman. "Tastes very good, but is way too expensive."

Above booth number 134 is “Le Fromager de Pékin”, the cheesemaker from Beijing. The O looks like a trimmed Camembert and the A like a chased Eiffel Tower. And Ms. Lisa is the American Lisa Minder, who has lived in Beijing for 20 years and is the only foreigner who has gained a foothold in a local market. Since her marriage to Liu Yang, the first Chinese man with a French diploma as a Fromager, Lisa has also become an expert in fine cheeses, “handmade in China”.

At first only foreigners came. 60 percent of our customers are now Chinese
Lisa Minder, wife and business partner of cheese maker Liu

Her husband makes two dozen varieties in his workshop 30 kilometers north of Beijing. In 2015 he won two international gold medals for his Camembert and two awards in the “World Cheese Book”. His Beijing Red, whose rind is marinated in wine, and the three-month-aged mountain cheese Tomme de Beijing, whose recipe he learned in Corsica, also received prizes. Liu gets his cow and goat milk from farms in the mountains around Beijing and on the edge of the inner Mongolian steppe. “Goats and cows can graze freely there,” he explains. "Water and air are checked."

Word of his masterpiece got around. After the big melamine scandals with adulterated milk, middle-class citizens distrust all Chinese dairy products. But they are waiting at Lisa's booth. The offer ranges from Camembert and Brie to Buchette, Pyramid and Roquefort. Mothers with school children buy cream cheese and cottage cheese. “We've been here since early summer,” says Lisa. At first only foreigners came. 60 percent of our customers are now Chinese. "

Chinese people with lactose intolerance tolerate cheese well

A top seller is a creamy camembert called Peking Gray, which is also available with truffles. The pieces, which weigh 120 to 200 grams, cost five to eight euros. Mozzarella is available from 100 grams for three euros. Regular customers buy according to the special name. Peking gray or red. One of the cheeses is called Peking Blue because of its noble mold.