Food Trends

Are you ready for pig's milk cheese?

Is pig milk the next big thing in dairy?

Is pig milk the next big thing in dairy?  (iStock)

Milk made from sheep, goat, even camel are gaining popularity as an alternative to cow.

But have you ever tried pig’s milk?

You probably won’t find sow’s milk at the local supermarket, but there is at least one hog farmer in the Netherlands hoping to market a new cheese made from pig.  

It won't be easy. Pigs have small nipples which give little milk and the sows don't like to be milked. The taste of the milk has also been described as gamy --and the cheese an intense version of that gaminess.

Erik Stegink of Piggy’s Palace in Bathmen, Overijjsel said he spent 40 hours to make the cheese he hopes will appeal to adventurous consumers.

“I consider it to be nothing more than a whimsical product,” Stegink told Vice’s Munchies.

The first batch of milk produced also required some cow’s milk since it takes hours to collect enough liquid sufficient for a good sized wheel.

“Pigs produce less milk in comparison to cows: every two hours they release the milk for about 30 seconds so you have to be quick…If you want to collect 10 liters—which is needed for about two pounds of cheese—you’re busy for at least 40 hours.”

Pig’s milk cheese is supposedly saltier and creamier than traditional cow’s milk cheese but has a grainy texture. Though this cheese isn’t yet available the U.S., there are other American chefs, like Edward Lee, who have started playing with pig's milk.

This has Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner concerned about alternative milks causing confusion in the market place.

On Aug. 6, Rauner signed a bill that requires milk not from cows be labeled appropriately, after a major lobbying effort by the Chicago Rabbinical Council, an Orthodox rabbinical and kosher certification organization, reports The Forward.

Previously, the state allowed the sale of milk from any animal, including pigs and camels, which are not kosher, without any specified labeling. The new law requires that all milk, even if it contains only trace amounts of milk from other animals, be fully labeled.

At this point, if you're drinking milk from a camel, as we did recently, or from a pig, you'll probably know about it because of the novelty factor.  

Stegink's exclusive cheese sells for around $2,400 for 2.2 pounds and was recently purchased by an anonymous buyer with proceeds going to a children’s cancer charity, according to Munchies.