WHAT IS APPENZELLER?
This hard cheese is made from the milk of Swiss Brown cows. It is then aged in a top secret herbal brine (it’s cloves, tarragon, juniper, rosemary, sage and white wine). Yeah, I just gave away their top secret recipe. I know I suck. While I’m at it here is KFC’s secret recipe and Coca Cola’s as well. Anyway, there are actually four different types of Appenzeller – Classic (aged four months), Surchoix (six months), Extra (over six months) and Organic.
The Swiss really kick ass in the consistent quality levels of their raw milk cheeses and large wheel sizes (which influence the flavor of cheese as it ripens). Appenzeller doesn’t need the special cheese flipping cave machines that their larger cousins (Emmenthaler at two hundred pounds per wheel) require. Appenzeller is a washed rind cheese. But it isn’t overly pungent like their French cousins (yes Muenster d’Alsace we are talking about you).
WHERE IS APPENZELLER MADE?
This phenomenal cheese comes from the Eastern part of Switzerland. Despite being a famously multilingual people, in one region my French questions were often answered with the German “What?!!”). Appenzell is located in the Swiss cantons close to Austria, and the barnyard smell of these fourteen pound wheels of raw cow’s milk cheese bring smiles to the local Swiss almost as fast as Sound of Music questions bring frowns to the Austrians.
WHY IS MY APPENZELLER BARKING AT THE MOON?
The faithful Swiss farm dogs that herded the livestock, guarded the chickens and even helped pull the wheels of cheese are also named Appenzeller. In Switzerland you’ll never see one of these dogs by itself. It is illegal there to have a social animal live alone (humans don’t count). And if one of your pet dies before the other, don’t worry. There are animal rental matchmaking agencies available! Not for you, though, only for your pet. But congratulations you’ll be the one footing the bill.
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH APPENZELLER?
Appenzeller is a great winter fondue cheese when mixed with other Swiss cheeses (Gruyere and Emmenthaler) and a dash of white wine or beer. Even a slice of this fromage can pair well with fresh fruits like Granny Smith Apples. Appenzeller’s spiciness gives a nice kick of flavor to any dish. Drink-wise wines like Rieslings, Rhones or Pinots are a safe bet. A good hard cider or Laeger beer is also a nice match. Under no circumstances do you pair this cheese with Bud Light.