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5 weird and wonderful Swiss cheeses you have to try

5 weird and wonderful Swiss cheeses you have to try

One of the hallmarks of the country, Swiss cheeses are known the world over for their texture, taste and quality. Alongside the well-known favourites of Gruyères and Emmental, the alpine nation is home to a number of weird and wonderful cheeses expats and locals must try.

The five weirdest Swiss cheeses revealed

Switzerland is home to over 400 different types of cheese, each with its own specific flavour. From local communities in the Swiss mountains to the large international companies in cities, each cheesemaker has its own unique process and ingredients to produce its version of the perfect fromage.

The most common type of cheese in Switzerland is known as the “Swiss-type” - a semi-hard strong cheese with its origins in the Alps. Along with traditional alpine cheese, Swiss cheesemakers have expanded their selection to include a series of weird and wonderful varieties. Here are five of our favourites:

1. Füürtüfel

For fans of spicy food, Füürtüfel (roughly translated as fiery devil) is the cheese for you. The three-month aged alpine cheese from Thurgau is packed with chillies and peppers that make the taste “devilishly hot.”

While the initial taste may be one of pure heat, the cheese has been made to have a silky texture and finish. Füürtüfel encapsulates the passion and innovation of Swiss cheesemakers, making a unique variety that everyone needs to try.

2. Tête de Moine

Tête de Moine is one of Switzerland’s oldest cheeses. Coming from the monastery at Bellelay, the first mention of the cheese dates back to 1192, and it is still made in the area to this day.

The cheese itself is also one of the most unique in Switzerland as it requires a special carving wheel that cuts thin slices off the cheese round, creating a Fleurette-like appearance. Aged for 2,5 months before serving, Tête de Moine is a delicate and soft cheese with an aromatic flavour.

tete de moine cheese Switzerland

3. Der Scharfe Maxx

Coming from the banks of Lake Constance, Der Scharfe Maxx is another characterful offering. Matured for five months, the taste is wholly unique with its spicy yet melt-in-mouth flavour.

The cheese is made with raw milk from the villages around St. Gallen and Rorschach. The company also make fondue versions for those who like their bread spicy!

4. Sbrinz

One of the most popular cheeses in Switzerland, Sbrinz prides itself on its lean, green credentials. The company insists on being 100 percent natural, adhering to stringent regulations that do not allow additives of GMO crops to be used in production.

The cheese itself is sometimes claimed to be the oldest cheese in Europe, with evidence the Helvetii tribe were making a variant of Sbrinz long before the birth of Christ. The first mention of Sbrinz specifically dates back to 70 AD in central Switzerland.

The cheese is similar to Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese in its dry and crumbly texture. It is designed to be broken, not cut, and is the perfect pairing with a glass of wine, sweet cider or simply grated on pasta.

Sbrinz cheese switzerland

5. Vacherin Fribourgois

Another old cheese can be found in Canton Fribourg with Vacherin Fribourgois. The cheese dates back over 600 years, to a monk by the name of Vaccarinus, who perfected a cheese in the Swiss Alps that became the favourite of Spanish monks in the 15th century.

The cheese is known for its soft, creamy texture. It is a slightly sour variety with fruity notes and subtle bitterness, perfect for any tasting or cocktail evening.

Cheese is one of the most iconic symbols of Switzerland 

With over 400 varieties to choose from, Switzerland is the place to be for any type of cheese you like. From ancient recipes perfected by monks to new, flavoursome variations, Switzerland has truly perfected the art of cheesemaking.

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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