Appenzeller is a popular variety of Swiss hard milk cheese which derives its name from its birthplace – Appenzell, located in Northeast Switzerland. The distinct fruity and tangy flavor of this cheese helps to differentiate it and also enables to pair it with wines, fresh fruits and cheeses. Like many of the heritage cheeses of this genre, this particular cheese adheres to rules of appellation, which means that only some certified producers are allowed to make and label their cheeses by this name. This cheese is normally sold in controlled manner and can be purchased from some high profile specialty stores across the world or from direct importers.
Many cheese experts believe that this cheese prepared from cow’s milk, taste better in summer than other seasons because during that time cow eats less hay.
History of Appenzeller Cheese
Following some historical anecdotes it is found that the cheese was first mentioned in 14th century. There is not enough literature to support the evolution of cheese in later stages but today it is perceived as one of the popular hard cow cheese varieties in the world.
Physical Description of Appenzeller Swiss Cheese
The cheese is distinguishable due to its straw colored body and it has small holes interspersed throughout its body. These small holes may get larger to the size of peas. The rind of cheese is slightly darker than its body and is always stamped with the seal of the dairy where the cheese was born.
Method of Producing Appenzeller Cheese
The appenzeller is well-known for its unusual method of production where the wheels of cheese are treated with herbal brine or cider, or wine at the time of curing. The brine solution used for searing the cheese is developed from concoction of herbal extracts and cheeses. This solution imparts distinct flavor to cheese and helps to preserve it during the formation of rind. In addition to this the cheese is generally washed with wine or cider during the curing process, which delivers fruity notes to the cheese.
Today appenzeller is produced by 75 highly secretive dairies and they follow different patterns of cheese production. It is believed that these dairies have developed their own recipe for brine wash which is mostly confined within their trade limits.
Popular Appenzeller Varieties
- Classic: This variety is lightly aged, and has mild flavors.
- Surchoix: This appenzeller variety is medium aged and has albeit strong flavors than classic
- Extra: This variety has intense flavor and gives out pungent aroma
Wine and Food Complements for Appenzeller Swiss Cheese
- Wine pairings: The cheese teams well with most of the fruity wines and Riesling. The strong fruity wines best complement with the flavor of cheese and also helps to tone down its acidity. The spicy flavor imparted during brine wash makes it suitable to team it with Riesling.
- Food Pairings: Appenzeller can be teamed with most of the fruits and spicy foods. They taste well when served with slightly tart fruits such as apples or they taste good when served as the part of cheese platter.