Cheese is big business in Switzerland, where they produce over 180,000 tons of cheese each year. Most of it is produced in small, local dairies and only 1/3 of that cheese is exported to other countries. Different regions in Switzerland are known for different types of cheeses and you could make a career out of traveling around the country, eating to your heart's content. If taking an actual cheese tour of Switzerland isn't convenient for you, here are some of the highlights you can try right in your own home.
Commonly known as Swiss cheese, Emmentaler comes from the Emme river valley region. It has been produced since the 12th century and has been perfected over time. It is most easily recognized by the holes, or eyes, that are formed by carbon dioxide bubbles that are released during the late stages of production.
Appenzeller cheese is produced from a 700 year old recipe in about 75 dairies in the Appenzell region. It is used in many popular dishes and has a strong, distinguished smell that comes from the use of herbal brine during the curing process. It has a nutty or fruity flavor, depending on the type, and can be artfully paired with various foods. Like Emmentaler cheese, Appenzeller is full of holes, but they are much smaller.
If you're hungry for fondue, Gruyère is a very good option. It melts beautifully and is also great for baking. In some dairies it is made by hand, over an open fire, on a daily basis. Gruyère is named after the town of Gruyères but is produced in a few different areas. Its distinctive taste is not overpowering and blends well with other flavors.
These are just a few of the decadent cheeses from Switzerland that give a whole new meaning to the term “Swiss cheese.” With so many options to choose from, there are endless possibilities of tasty things to create from this region of the world.