Types of cheeses from Switzerland

Extra hard and hard cheese

Sbrinz AOP is a typical extra hard cheese. Emmentaler AOP and Le Gruyère AOP are the best known examples of the hard cheese category. All these cheeses are made from raw milk in its natural state, are full-fat cheeses with at least 45% F.D.M. and have quite a long ripening process. Sbrinz AOP is ready for consumption after approximately 18 months, and becomes fully mature after 2 to 3 years. Emmentaler AOP and Le Gruyère AOP are ready for consumption after 4 to 5 months, and become fully mature after 7 to 12 months.
Hard cheeses have a variety of uses both in cold and warm cooking. No matter how they are served, be it cut, sliced or grated, in a fondue, for baking and making gratins, as an aperitif or a dessert - they are always tasty. If they are well packaged and stored in a cool place, Emmentaler AOP and Le Gruyère AOP can be kept for a good two weeks at a stretch, and Sbrinz AOP up to four weeks.

Semi-hard cheese

Raclette Suisse®, Walliser Raclette AOP, Appenzeller®, Tilsiter, Tête de Moine AOP, Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP, Bündner Bergkäse or Mutschli are typical examples of the semi-hard cheese category. They are made from either pasteurised or raw milk and take 3 to 6 months to mature.
Semi-hard cheeses are very much appreciated in cold and warm cooking of all kinds. Certain specialities are particularly suitable for fondues (Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP) or raclettes. Other varieties are noted for their unusual shape or way of being cut (e.g. rosettes cut from Tête de Moine AOP). If they are well packaged and stored in a cool place, they can be kept for approximately two weeks.

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Soft cheese

Soft cheese is mostly produced from pasteurised milk. Since its water content is around 50%, it has quite a short ripening time of just a few weeks. It is usually possible to distinguish between two types of soft cheese.

Soft mould ripened cheese (white mould cheese)
Typical examples are Swiss Brie, Swiss Camembert or Tomme. The white rind is usually eaten with the cheese.

Smear soft cheese
Whilst it is being ripened, this soft cheese is washed or smeared with brine and then kept in salt water, hence its brown-coloured rind. Reblochon, Limburger, Münster and Vacherin Mont-d'Or AOP are typical examples.
Soft cheese taste good both hot and cold. It is particularly appreciated as a dessert. When well packaged and stored in a cool place, soft cheese can be kept for at least a week.

Cream cheese

Cream cheeses are rindless, unripened cheeses that are ready for consumption shortly after manufacture. They are produced using pasteurised milk and have varying degrees of fat content. The best known varieties are Quark, cottage cheese, Formaggini, Mozzarella, Petit Suisse and specialities such as cream and double cream cheese.
The shelf life of cream cheese is specified on individual packaging. It is important to be especially careful not to break the cold chain when taking cheese home from the shops in the summer. Cream cheese products should be kept in their original packaging or in a closed plastic container at 5°C maximum. Cream cheese can be used in a variety of cold and hot dishes, for instance for fillings, dips, sauces or casseroles.

Goat’s and sheep’s cheese

Goat’s and sheep’s cheese exist in the form of soft cheese and cheese for slicing whilst soft. These types of cheese have become popular not only as a result of their intensive, unspoilt aroma, but also because goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk due to its protein and fat structure. As for sheep’s milk, it is noted for its high orotic acid content, supposed to be very good for the health. This acid builds up valuable cell nucleus protein and therefore has a regenerating effect on the elderly. What is more, it acts as a carrier substance for magnesium