Real Swiss Cheese. “This week, for the food category on my blog, I want to feature some kind of Swiss food that is not widely known outside of the country.” “What do you suggest?” I asked my dear friend who is Swiss and operates one of the Mountain huts (otherwise known as Alpine huts) in the Alps.
“How about doing a feature on real Swiss cheese?” He asked. “Well, in America and much of the western world there is Swiss cheese stocking the shelves of grocery stores.” In fact, Swiss cheese appear to be everywhere. “That might be true, but are these real Swiss cheese made in Switzerland by the method used by Swiss or are these cheese named so because they looked like or even taste like our Swiss cheese?” After pausing for a couple of seconds, I had to admit that I didn’t know the answer to my friend’s question.
The controversy with Swiss cheese vs. American cheese have had a long history. In 1911, the scientist Walter Gerber and Fritz Stettler developed processed cheese, commercially. Shortly thereafter, an America name James L. Kraft patent the product in the Unites States. He sold the first sliced or single cheese. At the time, Mr. Kraft cheese product was rated by the Swiss and food critics as inferior and he was accused of sacrificing quality for quantity and profit.
Processed cheese has a long shelf life and is conveniently package, which suit Americans and people on the go fine. Processed cheese become popular and this same cheese is known today as “American cheese”. Organic Authority “what we know and love in this country as ‘American cheese’ is neither American – nor is it cheese. Look closely at the label on your orange slices of American cheese and you will see that the word ‘cheese’ only appears in the tag: pasteurized processed cheese product.” What this means it that “because American cheese has so many additives, it is illegal to label it as ‘cheese’ in many countries, including America. According to the FDA, when a product contains more than 51% additional ingredients, it is no longer itself. Processed cheese product isn’t cheese.” If the aforementioned is any indication of how Swiss cheese is made in America, then we know that many of the products we see in stores are in fact not real Swiss cheese.
The making and ingredients that goes into real Swiss cheese dates back to the 15th century. At the time, people in the north of the Alps utilizes rennet, a substance from the stomach of cows to make hard cheeses. Hard cheese was the beginning of the making of real Swiss cheese, and proceeded cottage cheese in the region.
Two prominent but distinguishable cheeses in the region are mountain cheese and Alp cheese.
During the summer months, only, the Alp cheese is produced. It is made from the milk from the cows, goats or sheep that graze freely in open pasture lands of the Alpine. Up here, the variety of grass and the purity of the high mountain environment add to the specialty of the cheese. Every facet of the process takes place in these specific mountains, otherwise the cheese cannot be called “Alp cheese”, which is a protected brand.
Article by: Tiffany Huggins