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Whey is as rich in tradition as cheese, as fresh as milk and as steadfast as the renowned Swiss General Guisan (who thought very highly of it). A classic amongst alpine drinks, it is not simply a thirst quencher as are dozens of others, it has many other good qualities. For those in the know, Molkosan contains the complete tangy freshness of the Swiss Alps.
Scarcely has another natural product been praised so often, and for such a long time, as whey. Even Hippocrates recommended the milk serum of goats, sheep and cows to his patients approximately 400 years BC. He left boiling milk to curdle with fig juice and vinegar creating the refreshing drink. Since then whey has had a chequered and exciting history (of culture) behind it. Periods when whey health resorts flourished – such as around the 1st and 2nd centuries on Monte de la Torre between Naples and Salerno or in 18th century Gais in the canton of Appenzell (Switzerland) – were followed by those in which the milk serum was almost completely forgotten.
Whey experienced a real renaissance in the 17th century and then even more so from the 18th century onwards. At that time, various doctors discovered how good it was for one’s health. Among them was the famous Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, Leader of the Prussian Health Service and favourite doctor of Queen Luise. Hufeland, who distinguished himself as a pioneer of preventative diet medicine and regarded whey as a real tonic.
After Hufeland the modern era boasted the phytotherapy pioneer Alfred Vogel (1902 – 1996) and the German doctor and dietician, Dr Helmut Anemüller, who both supported the introduction of whey drinks.
Alfred Vogel devoted a great deal of his time to whey and from 1947 he repeatedly reported its positive effects in his magazine, A.Vogel’s Gesundheits-Nachrichten (Health News). In his standard work,The Nature Doctor, which appeared in 1952, he continually praised “cheesewater” and assured readers that, “Once someone finds out about the possible effect of whey concentrate, he knows it is to be valued.” Indeed, had it not been for Vogel, few of us would know exactly what whey is. The Appenzeller phytotherapist never tired of explaining the making of whey concentrate. Let us cast an eye over the production process with him.
In order to obtain cheese from milk, the cheese maker must ensure that the solid and the liquid components of milk separate. For this to happen, the milk needs to be curdled by means of rennin and lactic acid bacteria, making it thick. This solid component consists mainly of milk protein and milk fat: it is made into cheese. The left-over green and yellow liquid is whey. This fluid still contains some of milk’s very valuable ingredients but has very few of the calories. The whey is now fermented with lactic acid with selected bacteria cultures and, in addition, is enriched with dextro-rotatory L(+) lactic acids – a physiologically valuable substance which contributes considerably to Molkosan’s beneficial effect because the body can take it up directly. In the final stage, the whey, fermented with lactic acid, is subsequently released from the remaining protein and concentrated in a vacuum. Fermentation guarantees the stability of whey because fresh whey begins to turn approximately two hours after production.
Time and again in conversation, the taste of Molkosan is raised. “Sour” some say and shake themselves. On the other hand, others just appreciate its pleasant, fresh, distinctively tangy flavour. There is no question: whey does not taste like a modern styled sweet drink, but is as natural as the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau rolled into one.
“The taste of whey,” recounts an enthusiastic Molkosan drinker, the well known Austrian journalist, Professor Hademar Bankofer, in an interview with the magazine, Gesundheits-Nachrichten (issue 4/2001), “is pleasantly sour.”
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