No trip to Switzerland should go without trying some genuine Swiss cheese. There are more than 400 types of cheeses produced in Switzerland, and these are not the same as the ones you can get in supermarkets around the world. Term “Swiss Cheese” is used for many types of cheese especially the ones with holes in them, so try to think of all things you know about the Swiss cheese and forget about them, so you can be prepared to learn and discover the wonderful mouth-watering world of genuine Swiss cheese. Every supermarket in Switzerland has a special refrigerator filled with various cheeses, and they often put some out for tasting purposes. These are not far behind the handmade ones, but if you want to truly experience how Swiss cheese should taste like, and see how it is made, check out the article below. even if you are not sure about which places to visit in Switzerland, knowing everything about cheese is important.
This is probably the most famous cheese in the world, mostly because of its holes, or as professional cheesemakers call them- “eyes”. These holes are formed by bacteria in the milk which produce gas as part of their metabolic process, forming bubbles in the cheese. Emmentaler originated in Canton Bern, in the valley of the river Emme. The color of Emmentaler can vary from ivory to golden yellow depending on how old it is, the taste is sweet and nutty and almost silky when it is young, but leaving it to age will make it crumbly. If you want to be sure that you have both genuine Emmentaler check the label that must have AOP certification. If you want to learn more about the process of making Emmentaler you can visit numerous dairies( Schaukäserei) and see how it is made. To be sure you have the genuine Emmentaler cheese buy it from specialized shops that you can find almost everywhere.
Originating in the canton of Fribourg, this pale- yellow Swiss cheese is a delicacy you need to try. It is made from cow milk, but with more fat than Emmentaler. When young its taste is sweet and salty but left to age around 12 months, its flavor becomes more complex. The maturation process of Gruyere can be a little bit tricky, as this cheese requires specific humidity and temperature. These parameters should resemble the ones in a cave, and there are Gruyere cheeses that have actually matured in a cave. Its name is not protected so you need to be careful when buying it because there are many imitations (look for AOP stamp) Buying it locally will lower the risk of the cheese being a fake one.
Hard cheese produced in the Appenzeller region. There are more than 80 dairies that produce this brand of Swiss cheese and each one has its own secret recipe. This cheese has a really strong taste and smell and nutty flavor. Depending on how long it aged, there are three varieties: classic (3-4 months), Surchoix( 4-6 months), Extra ( 6+ months).
This cheese is not liked by everyone mainly for its strong smell, but if you ever try it and like you will be craving for more. Do not forget to include the Appenzeller region in your list of places to visit in Switzerland.
This cow’s milk cheese is most commonly used for melting. It dates back to the medieval times, and it was widely used by cow herders. All alone in the Alps, cow herders started gathering around the campfires, and besides the campfire, they would place a big wheel of Raclette. After a while, cheese would become soft and with the use of a specialized tool, peasants scrape off the molten part onto a piece of bread. This is how Raclette got its name. Nowadays a modern version of raclette is served in the restaurants and there are special pans (coupelles) that people use to melt Raclette at home and pour this amazing cheese over some hot, cooked potatoes. It has a creamy texture, and sweet, almost milky taste.
This Swiss cheese is an equivalent to Parmesan. Originating in central Switzerland, this hard cheese is only produced in local dairies, from local cow’s milk. Strict requirements for the production of this cheese guarantee quality and credibility, and there is only a handful of dairies that have a license for producing Sbrinz. These dairies are located in cantons of Lucerne, Schwyz, Zug, Berne, and Unterwald. This golden- yellow cheese needs to mature for at least 18 months before it can get the name “Spalen”, but it is usually sold after one or two years of ripening when its tanginess and aroma are the strongest.
Searching for local dairies can take a big chunk of time you can spend exploring other places to visit in Switzerland, so if you want to plan your trip and get to taste genuine Swiss Cheese and see how it is made here are some places where you can do it in: Berne, Stein AG, Gruyere, Kloster, Glis, Pontresina.
Updated: July 25, 2017