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Swiss Cheese

Appenzell(er): An unpasteurised cows' milk cheese with a fine, fruity, flavour. Cheeses have regular round holes, while their rind is washed in spiced cider or wine - before being matured for four to six months. Appenzell Rass, is a version made from skimmed milk, but matured for much longer - for extra sharpness.

Emmental(er): This hard-pressed, cooked, cows milk, cheese makes up over half the total Swiss cheese production, and is what many people in Britain regard as 'Swiss cheese' - because it has large holes. The number and volume of the holes depends on many factors - most notably the scalding temperature of the curds and the temperature and humidity of the maturing store (which is warmer than that used for maturing Gruyere).The name comes from the Emmen Valley near Bern where it originated. It's much imitated around the world, and good versions are made over the border in France. Emmental is a very good cooking cheese.

Gruyere: A hard-pressed cooked, cows' milk cheese, with pea-sized holes. It's pressed harder, then matured at a lower temperature than its cousin Emmental. It takes its name from a town of the same name, where it was probably first made in the 12th century. Gruyere is an excellent cooking cheese - especially for cheese fondues, and suchlike. T lengthen its shelflife, it should be stored wrapped in a damp salty cloth.

Paglia: A creamy cows' milk cheese, in a similar style to that of Gorgonzola - made in Ticino.

Piora: A delicate and rich cows' milk cheese with many small holes. It's made in Ticano and on the Piora alp itself. Uso Piora is made from a mixture of cows' and goats' milk. Both are ripened for about 6 months.

Raclette: This cows' milk cheese, literally meaning 'scraper' is a loose family mostly from the canton of Valais. Cheeses are unpasteurised, and have a fruity flavour - similar to Gruyere. The potato dish, traditionally-made with this cheee has the same name. See 'Raclette'

Sbrinz: Switzerland's oldest cheese, made from unpasteurised cows' milk, cooked, then long-ripened until it's hard - from 18 months to 3 years. The end product resembles Italian Grana. The name derives from the village of Brienz in the Bernese Oberland.

It's an excellent grating cheese and also melts well - making it ideal for cooking.

Tête de Moine: A cows' milk cheese also known as Bellelay - the abbey where it was originally made. Cheeses are only made in the summer months, and are offered for sale between September and March. Cheeses have a delicate flavour and unlike many Swiss cheeses are uncooked. It is traditional eaten thinly-sliced and sprinkled with pepper and cumin powder.

Vacherin Mont d'Or: An unpasteurised cows' milk cheese from the Vallée de Joux, near the French border. The paste has the texture of thick clotted cream, and once cut, needs to be protected with a small piece of glass or wood to stop it running out. Traditionally it's eaten sprinkled with cumin and boiled potatoes.

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