Swiss Cheeses: the Rich Taste of the Alps
Switzerland is a land of pastures. In fact, about 80% of its agricultural area is exploitable only for breeding. If there were no livestock, the land used for grazing would quickly degrade. The population of mountain areas would no longer be guaranteed and beautiful areas could be lost.
Cheese production in Switzerland has a centuries-old tradition. Emmentaler AOP, Gruyère AOP and Sbrinz AOP, as well as Appenzeller and Tête de Moine AOP, are among the best-known varieties in Switzerland and abroad. Overall, more than 450 types of cheese are produced in Switzerland. Half of the milk supplied by the producers is transformed into cheese.
Swiss cheese is famous for its quality, genuineness and goodness, guaranteed by strict production regulations, quality controls and respect for the environment. Furthermore most Swiss cheeses are suitable to people with lactose intolerance: in fact, they lose almost all the lactose contained during the production process.
Popular Swiss Cheeses
Sbrinz AOP is the typical extra-curd cheese, while Emmentaler and Gruyère are among the best known hard Swiss cheeses. They are produced with natural raw milk.
The Sbrinz AOP has a very slow seasoning and is ready for consumption after about 18 months; after that period the Sbrinz is ideal to taste cut into very thin slices. After 2-3 years it is extra aged. It is a 100% natural cheese, made without the addition of any additives.
Emmentaler AOP and Gruyère AOP are ready for consumption after 4 - 5 months.
These semi-firm cheeses can be used in many ways, both in hot and cold cooking: grated or flaked, melted in fondue, baked dishes and gratins.
Yet, there are some less known cheeses from Switzerland that deserve to be tasted and praised.
Innovative Swiss Cheeses
But there are many more less popular cheeses from the mountains of Switzerland that are worthy to be tasted. For example Fior delle Alpi, a real jewel hidden by a black rind, still produced following the ancient recipe and with traditional techniques.
And what about Diabolo Gourmet? An incredible cheese with sweet honey notes, a soft and creamy texture and at the same time diabolically bold. Finally, don't forget to try Jura Montagne, a cheese with an intense and wild aroma produced whose secret lies in the intensely savory mountain milk from which it is made.
Diabolo Gourmet Cheese
This cheese is made from raw and fresh milk through a process unchanged over time. After five months, the delicate paste of the Diabolo is ready, characterized by the scent of spicy honey and a full, thoroughbred aroma with hints of pepper and apricot.
Jura Montagne Cheese
Jura Montagne is a Swiss cheese produced in the area of the Franches-Montagnes district. It belongs to the Gruyère family but its reputation on the market has suffered since the authentic Fribourg Swiss Gruyere obtained the AOC status, making it impossible for the Jura producers to exploit its name commercially.
Fior delle Alpi
This semi-firm cheese is known as the "Jewel of the Swiss Mountains". Made still using an anciente recipe, Fior delle Alpi is aged for 12 months until it achieves its full flavor and is then released under meticulous scrutiny by its master affineur.
Swiss Cheese Recipes
Here are some quick recipes you can prepare with these superb Swiss cheeses.
Scrambled Eggs with Diabolo Gourmet Cheese
- Beat the eggs with cream or milk.
- Grate the Diabolo Gourmet, chop some chives and dill and mix the herbs with the eggs.
- Season with salt, pepper, paprika, freshly grated nutmeg.
- Heat a knob of butter in a pan and add the eggs.
- As the egg starts to solidify, push the edges towards the center with a wooden spoon.
- Serve hot with some bread.
Fior delle Alpi Cheese Chips
- Grate the Fior delle Alpi cheese.
- Place some small portions on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with paprika, chili powder and nutmeg.
- Bake at 350° F for 5-10 minutes until they become brownish. Let cool.
- Serve with a cinnamon and apple chutney, cranberry sauce or curry sauce and yogurt.