5 things you didn't know about Swiss cheese

5 things you didn't know about Swiss cheese

Is it all cheese? You bet! Switzerland is famous for its cheese - whether Appenzeller, Swiss Emmentaler AOP or Le Gruyere AOP: the well-known delicacies are on everyone's lips.

We'll tell you 5 things that you definitely didn't know about Swiss cheese!

Swiss cheese - a few facts

Agriculture is hardly possible in the mountains of Switzerland - that is why they have specialized in dairy farming for centuries. More precisely, on what can be made from milk: cheese. Over 190,000 tons of cheese are produced annually, with around 600 smaller cheese dairies and alpine farms often being family-run. Around 1.2 million tons of raw milk are processed. Appenzeller, Swiss Emmentaler AOP and Le Gruyère AOP are handcrafted. There are currently between 450 and 700 types of cheese in Switzerland - considerable for the size of the country!

5 things you didn't know about Swiss cheese

1. Industry code for selected ingredients

Swiss cheese manufacturers produce cheese according to what is known as an “industry code”, similar to the beer purity law. Only the following ingredients are allowed: milk, lactic acid cultures, rennet, salt and, depending on the variety, selected herbs or, in the case of soft cheeses, mold cultures. This means that the manufacturers themselves do without permitted additives such as genetically engineered rennet and thus present original Swiss cheese as a natural product. The industry code is not mandatory, but is voluntary.

2. AOP seal ensures quality and origin

Some original Swiss cheeses carry the "AOP" quality and origin seal - "Appelation d´Origine Protégée", in German "Protected Designation of Origin", which is awarded by the European Union. This is used to honor products that are produced in a clearly defined region, In the case of AOP cheese, the milk comes from the same region in which it is processed into cheese and where it is cultivated until it is mature. There are currently 12 Swiss cheeses bearing the AOP seal of approval: 

  • Berner Alp- und Planelkäse AOP
  • Bloder sour cheese AOP
  • Swiss Emmentaler AOP
  • Glarner Alpkäse AOP
  • L'Etivaz AOP
  • Le Gruyère AOP
  • Raclette du Valais AOP
  • Sbrinz AOP
  • Ticino alpine cheese AOP
  • Tete de Moine AOP
  • Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP
  • Vacherin Mont-d'Or AOP

Tip: Goes well with chutneys and jam with cheese

3. A point system decides whether a cheese will go on sale

With the original Swiss Emmentaler AOP, for example - the one with the famous holes - nothing is left to chance - only cheeses that have achieved 18 out of 20 possible points are sold. If even 19 points are achieved on the quality scale, they can become long-matured specialties in the gourmet area.

Swiss cheese - a few facts


4. Raclette cheese was originally "stripped"

Raclette is popular with us at Christmas and New Year's Eve - Swiss raclette cheese is used for this, which has a high fat content for a nice melt. While raclette with pans is used today, raclette cheese used to be melted over an open fire. Once the cheese was tender, it was gradually wiped off on the plates. The name for the cheese and at the same time for its application was born: “Raclette” comes from the French “racler” and means “scrape or scratch”. By the way: Traditionally, raclette cheese is still often scraped off the loaf in Switzerland.

Tip: try the classic cheese fondue!

By the way:  You can eat the rind of Raclette Suisse and Walliser Raclette AOP as it is created by regular rubbing with salt water during the ripening period. So it is not chemically treated!

5. An apple for freshness

What's the best way to store cheese? Under the cheese cover, right. Put an apple underneath, because it provides varieties like Le Gruyère AOP with optimal moisture. Alternatively, you can use cheese paper or cling film, but pierce it several times with a fork so that the cheese can breathe underneath.


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