Discovering Tzfat Cheese cheese from Israel

The Uniqueness and Flavor Profile of Tzfat Cheese

Spawning from the historical town of Tzfat in Northern Israel, Tzfat Cheese, also known as Tzfatit, holds a special place in the world of cheese. As an intrinsic part of the Israeli culture, the cheese’s distinctiveness lies not only in its historical association with one of Judaism’s major mystic cities, but also in its light texture, low salt content, and unique maturation process.

Brewed from cow’s milk, the Tzfat Cheese offers a diverse taste palette that is soft, slightly acidulous, a bit crumbly, and brimming with a gentle salty finish. What separates it from other cheese types is its low-salt and low-fat content, making it an excellent companion for a healthy, nutritious diet. The cheese is commonly used in salads, pies and pastries in Middle Eastern cuisine due to its ability to balance and enhance the flavors of various ingredients.

Traditionally, Tzfat Cheese is aged in a cellar environment for a minimum of 90 days in order to reach its characteristic consistency and flavor. This monumental period of maturation coupled with the fine quality cow’s milk used in its production gives the cheese its unique and mesmerizing flavor. The texture of the cheese also differs according to the cream percentage in the milk, altering from soft and creamy to hard and crumbly.

  • Soft Texture: The soft texture version of Tzfat Cheese is made from milk with high cream content that gives it a creamy and spreadable consistency.
  • Hard Texture: The hard texture version is made from milk with less cream content, resulting in a firmer, crumbly texture, similar to Feta cheese, yet maintaining the light salty tang unique to Tzfat Cheese.

Whether it’s the historical background, unique flavor, or health-friendly compositions, Tzfat Cheese remains a one-of-a-kind culinary delight loved by cheese aficionados across the globe.

Israeli Cheeses: Test your knowledge on Tzfat cheese

Welcome to our quiz on Tzfat cheese from Israel! Discover how well you know this unique and flavorful cheese and learn something new about Israeli cuisine and cheese making traditions. Are you ready to test your knowledge? Let's get started!

Delectable Journey into the World of Tzfat Cheese

Originating in the hills of northern Israel, Tzfat cheese is an artistic homage to culinary skill and Israeli dairy tradition. This semi-hard cheese usually comes from pure goat’s milk, although cow’s milk versions have also gained popularity. Renowned for its specific, pleasant tartness and a slightly crumbly texture, it quickly became a permanent part of Israeli cuisine. The taste of Tzfat cheese is a harmonious blend of nuanced freshness, mild acidity, and a subtle dash of salt, paving way for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

The craftsmanship dedicated to Tzfat cheese-making starts right from the quality of milk. The goat’s milk used is sourced primarily from animals that graze freely on wild herbs and grasses, nourishing the milk with high-quality proteins, calcium, beneficial fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, all contributing to the unique taste and nutritional profile of Tzfat cheese. The cheese-making process embraces tradition and simplicity. Usually, the milk is left to curdle, and after curd formation, it is strained to remove whey and then pressed to get rid of excess moisture. The curd is moulded, brined to enhance the flavour, and then aged. Aging duration varies from two weeks to a few months, and with time, the cheese develops a more complex flavour and firmer texture.

Different varieties of Tzfat cheese can be distinguished based on the nature of milk used and the aging duration:

  • Classic Tzfat Cheese: Made from pure goat’s milk, it’s aged for a shorter period leading to a creamier texture and delicately fresh flavor.
  • Mature Tzfat Cheese: A longer-aged version of the classic cheese, it develops a crumblier texture and stronger flavor due to the microbial activities during aging.
  • Tzfat Cheese from Cow’s Milk: This variant is milder in taste and creamier in texture compared to the goat’s milk version.

Whether it’s paired with wine, spread on a fresh slice of bread, or mixed into a salad, Tzfat cheese unfailingly plays its part in elevating the gastronomical experience. Effortlessly bridging the gap between tradition, nutritional richness, and delightful taste, this cheese stands as a testament to the skill and passion of cheese artisans.

Tzfat Cheese: A Taste of Galilee

Discover the rich and flavorful world of Tzfat Cheese, a delectable cheese variety hailing from the picturesque region of Galilee. Known for its unique production process and distinctive taste, Tzfat Cheese offers a culinary experience like no other.

Located in Northern Israel, Galilee boasts a breathtaking landscape of lush hills, fertile valleys, and crystal-clear waters. This region has a rich history dating back thousands of years and is considered a significant biblical and cultural hub. Galilee’s fertile lands and temperate climate make it an ideal location for cheese production, resulting in exceptional dairy products that have gained international acclaim.

Tzfat Cheese, also known as Safed Cheese, takes its name from the ancient city of Tzfat (Safed), perched high in the Galilean mountains. This cheese variety has been crafted using traditional methods for centuries, ensuring its unique and authentic character.

What sets Tzfat Cheese apart is its remarkably delicate yet tangy flavor profile. Made from a blend of cow’s and goat’s milk, this cheese offers a perfect balance of creaminess and savory notes, with a slightly tangy and nutty finish. The distinct taste of Tzfat Cheese is attributed to the specific breeds of cows and goats that graze on Galilee’s abundant pastures, consuming a diverse array of herbs and grasses.

Features of Tzfat Cheese:

  • Made from a blend of cow’s and goat’s milk
  • Delicate and tangy flavor profile
  • Creamy texture with a slightly nutty finish
  • Produced using traditional methods
  • Reflection of Galilee’s fertile lands and diverse flora

Whether enjoyed on its own, paired with fresh bread, or incorporated into various culinary creations, Tzfat Cheese is a true delight for cheese connoisseurs. Indulge in the flavors of Galilee and experience the taste of this exceptional Israeli cheese.

Facts and figures

  • Delving Deeper: Tzfat cheese, along with cottage cheese, played a central role in the major consumer boycott in Israel in 2011.
  • Exploring the Traditions: Tzfat cheese is traditionally enjoyed during the Shavuot holiday, piling high on the tables along with other dairy products.
  • On the market: Today, you can find Tzfat cheese not only in Israel but in many gourmet grocery stores worldwide.
  • Culinary facts: Tzfat cheese is often used in salads, sandwiches and as a side dish with olives and fresh tomatoes.
  • In culinary history: Tzfat cheese has been produced in Israel since the 18th century.
  • A taste of Israel: Tzfat cheese is crucial to traditional Israeli cuisine and is a part of their cultural heritage.
  • On the plate: Several traditional Israeli recipes feature Tzfat cheese, including pastries, pies, and more.

Savoring the Creamy Goodness of Tzfat Cheese: Exquisite Recipes

Originating from the mystical city of Tzfat, Israel, Tzfat cheese brings a spirited creamy punch to the culinary universe. Particularly savored during Jewish Shavuot festival, Tzfat cheese encompasses a world-class artisanal product with its exquisitely smooth texture, milky freshness, and slightly tangy finish.

Tzfat cheese is lower in fat than an average cheese and high in calcium and protein, making it a healthy and tasty option for diverse recipes. Its creamy and slightly crumbly texture makes this cheese an excellent ingredient for rich sauces, tangy salads, and perfect garnish for several dishes. Let’s delve into the world of Tzfat cheese and explore two mouth-watering recipes.

First up is the Tzfat Cheese Salad:

  1. 1 Cup Tzfat cheese, crumbled
  2. 2 Fresh tomatoes, diced
  3. 1 Cucumber, diced
  4. 1 Red bell pepper, diced
  5. 1/4 Cup olives, halved
  6. 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  8. Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the fresh tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, and olives in a bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled Tzfat cheese on top. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Enjoy your refreshing and hearty Tzfat Cheese Salad.

Next on the culinary journey is the indulgent, creamy Tzfat Cheese Pasta Sauce:

  1. 2 cups Tzfat cheese, grated
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. A dash of white pepper
  5. Salt to taste

Sauté the minced garlic in a pan until it releases its aroma. Add the heavy cream to the pan, stirring gently. Once the cream starts to warm, gradually incorporate the grated Tzfat cheese. Keep stirring until you’ve got a creamy, homogeneous mixture. Add the white pepper and salt to taste. Pour this fondue-like sauce over your pasta, stirring thoroughly to make sure every strand gets coated with the velvety Tzfat sauce. Your sumptuous Tzfat Cheese Pasta Sauce is ready to be savored.

Whether it’s a crispy salad or a luxurious pasta dish, the Tzfat cheese, with its unique blend of creaminess and tanginess, breathes life into these recipes, satisfying both the palate and the soul.

Pairing Excellence: The Art of Uniting Tzfat Cheese with Wines and Cuisines

Tzfat Cheese, an Israeli original, is known for its trademark blend of creamy, subtly tangy flavor. Named after the northern city of Safed (Tzfat in Hebrew), this cheese is traditionally produced from sheep’s milk cheese, but has variations developing from cow’s milk that hold its own in flavor and texture, with less salt and fat content. It is a high-humidity cheese, semi-soft, with a delicate balance of saltiness and a slightly sour finish. It is indeed a fascinating specimen in the world of cheese, with a distinctive personality, and this unique character offers delightful pairing potential that should not be overlooked. Wine and food pairings for Tzfat cheese can magnify the tasting experience, enhancing the underlying notes of the delicacy and transforming it into an epicurean sensation.

When pairing wines with Tzfat cheese, one must consider the cheese’s robust flavor profile. The typical wine partners for this category of cheese include crisp, acidic white wines and rosés to components of the cheese’s lusciously creamy, slightly tangy aspects. Specifically, wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, or a dry rosé can offer the perfect counterbalance to Tzfat Cheese’s creamy texture and salty, subtly sour note. In choosing a red wine, opt for a light-bodied option with lower tannin content, like Beaujolais or Grenache.

As for gastronomic matches, Tzfat Cheese has been traditionally included in Israeli breakfast and salad dishes due to its versatility and distinct flavor. Notable pairing options include:

  • Grilled or Roasted Vegetables: The smokiness of the vegetables plays well against the creaminess of the cheese, accentuating its rich flavor.
  • Fruits: Tzfat cheese engages remarkably with fresh fruits like figs, grapes, or apples, and dried fruits such as apricots and dates, their natural sweetness offering a pleasing contrast.
  • Breads: The cheese works perfectly as a topping on warm, crisp bread, whether it be a simple sourdough or an olive loaf.
  • Middle Eastern Cuisine: Being its place of origin, Middle Eastern food, particularly Israeli dishes, compliment this regional cheese marvelously. It can be an excellent addition to a Mezze platter or styled up in a Shakshuka dish.

With its engaging flavor profile, the Israeli Tzfat Cheese offers an ideal canvas for gastronomic artistry, allowing for an intense engagement of taste and creativity. Regardless of whether you use it as a simplistic topping on a piece of warm bread, a stuffing in grilled peppers, or pair it with a well-chosen wine, the end result is bound to be a harmonious blend of flavor that seizes the palate and leaves an imprint of the culinary culture of northern Israel.

Similar Cheeses for Tzfat Cheese

Tzfat Cheese, also known as Safed Cheese, is a traditional Israeli cheese that originated in the city of Tzfat. It is a type of soft, white cheese that has a mild and creamy flavor. Tzfat Cheese is made from cow’s milk and is often compared to other types of similar cheeses from around the world. Here are some cheeses that are similar to Tzfat Cheese:

1. Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese that is made from the curds of cow’s milk. It has a similar texture to Tzfat Cheese and can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for Tzfat Cheese. However, cottage cheese has a slightly tangy flavor that is not as mild as Tzfat Cheese.

2. Quark: Quark is a soft, fresh cheese that is popular in Europe. It is made from the curds of cow’s milk and has a smooth and creamy texture. Quark has a mild flavor that is similar to Tzfat Cheese, making it a good alternative for those who cannot find Tzfat Cheese in their local area.

3. Greek Feta Cheese: Greek Feta cheese is a brined cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It has a crumbly texture and a tangy and salty flavor. While Feta cheese is not exactly like Tzfat Cheese, it can be used as a substitute in dishes where the mild and creamy flavor of Tzfat Cheese is desired.

4. Ricotta: Ricotta is a fresh Italian cheese that is made from the whey of cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk. It has a creamy texture and a mild and slightly sweet flavor. Ricotta can be used as a substitute for Tzfat Cheese in recipes that require a soft and mild cheese.

These are just a few examples of cheeses that are similar to Tzfat Cheese. Each cheese has its own unique characteristics, but they can all be used as alternatives when Tzfat Cheese is not available. So, next time you’re looking for a substitute for Tzfat Cheese, give one of these cheeses a try!

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About the author: Dr. Wolfgang Sender writes on international careers. He is founder of and

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