Appenzeller is one of our favorite Alpine cheeses. It’s a raw milk cheese made in Switzerland, following a 700-year old tradition. It’s named after the region where it is made, the Appenzell, located in Northeast Switzerland.
It’s called an alpine cheese because the cows who provide the milk for the cheese graze in high mountain meadows. The unique combinations of grasses and wild flowers they eat transfers flavor into the milk.
Appenzeller relies on one more thing to create its trademark spicy flavor – an herbal brine, the composition of which is a strictly guarded secret. Only two people know the recipe, although it’s known to be some combination of wine and 25 different herbs, roots, leaves, petals, seeds and bark.
The cheese is bathed in the brine for 10 days and then sent to age, where it continues to be rubbed with the brine at regular intervals. There are three primary kinds of Appenzeller, depending on how long they are aged. This is Appenzeller Extra, aged six months or more. Only the best wheels are selected and handled by the best master cheesemakers to produce the Extra. This represents only 2.5% of Appenzeller sales.
This delightful nutty and spicy cheese is great on a cheese board, but it’s also good for cooking. It takes fondue to a new level or can be used in all the traditional gruyere dishes such as quiche.
The spicy flavor imparted during the brine wash makes this a classic companion to German Riesling or Gewurtztraminer. If you prefer red, choose a fruity red, such as a Rhone or a Pinot Noir, such as our Vorgescmack. Beer more your style? A doppelbock, with its intense malty flavors is ideal for this cheese. Add some pickled vegetables and you’ll be in heaven.