Alpine Style Cheeses

We like to call these wheels the gentle giants—hailing from the Alps, where this style of cheese derives its name, these large wheels are known for being firm, toothsome, and distinctly nutty. Animals in the Swiss and French mountains often practice what’s called transhumance, which means that they graze in different areas depending on the season, so Alpine wheels will emerge with variations in flavor based on when the milk was produced—for example, wheels made with milk from the summer tend to be bright and grassy, while milk produced in autumn gives the cheese a nuttier, earthier profile, as seen in iconic classics like Gruyère d’Alpage, Emmentaler, and Appenzeller.

Why do some Swiss cheeses have holes? During the cheesemaking process, the bacteria interacts with the lactic acid and forms air pockets, which give us the small holes or eyes in many popular cheeses. Similarly, the renowned nuttiness of these mountain-made favorites comes from the milk curds being cooked at higher temperatures. Another Alpine identifier? Most of these highly snackable cheeses are made for melting, so grab a few slices for your cheese board or melt some down for a mild, mellow fondue treat.

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