Cheeses of Switzerland

July 7, 2018 — No comments

Cheeses of Switzerland

There are around 450 different varieties of Swiss cheese which include the well-known Gruyère, Emmental, Appenzeller cheese. The majority are Alp cheeses, produced by small families or an individual Alp farmer during the summer, and some Swiss cheeses are seasonal specialties. All of them have their own story of origin and tradition. Here portrayed are three.

Alp Steistooss cheese from 2,000 meters altitude

In June, Jessica and Raphael Rinnerthaler & their young son walk their cows up to Alp Steistooss (elev. 2,000 m) in Canton Berne.

Between snow melt and snow fall, they spend 100 summer days to produce incomparably fresh, all natural & delicious Swiss Alp cheese as is done on many other Alps throughout Switzerland. Their pictures tell volumes about their life on the Alp and of natural cheese making. For more info and to read their fun blog go to:

Above Photos: Alp Steistooss, Jessica Rinnerthaler

Justistal Alp Cheese distribution is unique throughout Europe and is well worth a visit during the month of September!

Tête de Moine – Monk’s head cheese

Tête de Moine – French for “monk’s head” – is a cylindrical semi-hard Swiss cheese from the Bernese Jura. (French is one of the four national languages spoken in Switzerland).

According to religious tradition, the monks used the cheese as a means of payment as early as the 12th century!

Famous for its aromatic, melt-in-your-mouth flavour, rather than cutting, it is shaved into thin, twirly rosette slices using the “Girolle” or “Pirouette”. Absolutely delicious!

The monks in the Bellelay monastery sliced their Tête de Moine cheese with a similar type of raised knife. Higher end cheese stores around the world may carry this cheese which is popular in Switzerland. For more info and delicious recipes go to:

Above photo: Bois Raiguel cheese dairy at Chasseral Nature Park, Bernese Jura where Tête de Moine originates from. Nitsch

Vacherin – a seasonal specialty

Vacherin cheese is a melt-in-the mouth thick, creamy texture of deliciousness which must be eaten at room temperature. To develop its subtle flavour, the cheese is enclosed in a box or circled in a band of hand-crafted Jura fir.

The recipe was developed around 1845 and first commercially produced by Charbonnières Dairy in 1865. Today, the Museum des Vacherin Mont-d’Or in on the site of the old dairy in the town of Les Charbonnières in the Vallée de Joux. It documents the unusual history & production of Vacherin cheese and explains why this cheese is only produced in the winter.

Click here to link to a traditional Swiss Vacherin cheese producer with delicious recipes, but baking an entire cheese wrapped in aluminum foil, pricked at the top and sprinkled with white wine is how the locals like to eat it! Bon appétit!

Above photo: Village of Charbonnières, photo by Commune le Lieu

For many more varieties of Cheeses of Switzerland, recipes and on-line ordering go to  and tell us about your favourite Swiss cheese by leaving a comment.

About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust


Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass with friends.  More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »

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During 100 summer days Jessica & Raphael Rinnerthaler

live with their young son on Alp Steistooss (elev. 2,000 m), Canton Berne. In spring, as soon as the snow melts, they walk their cows to the Alp. Listen to the evening concert they get to enjoy after an honest day’s work! The bells are required to locate the cows for the daily milking during the frequent fog spells in the region.
Junior Alp Farmer


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