90 percent of the wine made in Switzerland is only domestically sold, but we found the best available in the U.S. and asked expert sommelier, Victoria James, to pair Emmi cheeses with them for the ultimate Wine & Cheese Day (July 25!) celebration.

By: Victoria James

Lack of availability and marketing means that Swiss wines remain mythical and undiscovered for many outside the charming country. Little wine is produced, and what little is made very rarely crosses the Swiss border—Switzerland is so wealthy, they really needn’t push their wines into the international market; in fact, 90 percent remains domestically sold. Further, there isn’t a large, international PR group educating the trade and marketing the wines. Beyond that, after my first visit to Switzerland, I learned why the Swiss seem almost secretive about their wines… perhaps for good reason—they might be too good to share.

For the United States market, a majority of the wines imported hail from the French cantons in the west, specifically the Valais and the Vaud. The Valais is nestled into the heart of the Alps, and the vineyards here, flanking both sides of the birthplace of the Rhône river (the right bank is most important), benefit from steep slopes and terraces. The Valais is responsible for a third of the country’s production. The mountains form a rain shadow that makes the Valais Switzerland’s driest canton with just 24 inches of precipitation a year… coupled with 2,100 hours a year of sunlight. For reference, Alsace, an infamously dry and sunny region in France, sees 20-25 inches of precipitation and 1,800 hours of sunlight annually. Indeed, some similarities in the styles of wine from Alsace and the Valais are noticeable: vibrant acidity, gobs of honeyed notes, racing minerality, white flowers and sometimes earthy/mushroomy aromas.

Unlike the Valais, which, to its own detriment might have too many “specialties,” the focus of the Vaud is solely Chasselas. In 2009 it was proven that this canton, resting on the shores of Lake Geneva, is the actual birthplace of the grape. Chasselas always reminds me of fresh spring water and is the perfect palate cleanser with rich and funky cheese.

Really, what grows together does go together. So many of these wines perfectly match their dairy counterparts, both carrying with them a sense of place.

Kaltbach Gruyère + Cave Caloz Cornalin, Les Bernunes, Valais, Switzerland

Made since the 12th century, Gruyère is a Swiss favorite. To go with this nutty and crunchy delight, I like to pour a slightly unusual pick–– a red wine. Most sommeliers cringe when guests drink red wine with cheese, as the former usually overpowers the delicate nuances of the latter with tannins and a blast of red fruit. However, this Gruyère, aged for a minimum of 150 days can take a bit of red wine. Chilled just a bit, the Cave Caloz Cornalin is the perfect quencher alongside this cheese.

Anne-Carole and Conrad Caloz (who took over for his father, Fernand) now manage the family domain while their eldest daughter, Sandrine, is the winemaker. 2013 is Sandrine’s white-winemaking debut after years of studying under her father and at enology school.

Although Switzerland is quite liberal, very few females are in the wine industry. As the story goes, when Sandrine was born, her grandfather excitedly opened a bottle of Champagne to celebrate his successor who would one day take over the winery. Minutes later, upon learning that his grandchild was a girl, he was reported as fuming, “Do you know how hard it is to put a cork back in a Champagne bottle?” Luckily, Sandrine’s hard work and skill put his skepticism to rest, and today he—along with a legion of fans—seems impressed by her wines.

Only otherwise seen in the Valle d’Aoste, Cornalin is hard to grow and very susceptible to sickness, commonly ripening unevenly or suffering from millerandage. Cornalin must be made carefully, but a well-made one like Sandrine’s seems to play a Syrah-like charade on the palate while boasting the inky color of Dolcetto. A true Alpine red, the Cornalin is structured and age-worthy and smells of wet soil, sticky pine trees, small red berries and dark flowers. A delicious and earthy wine makes a fruity contrast to the dried fruit and nutty elements in the Gruyère.

Kaltbach Crèmeux+ Jean- René Germanier, Amigné de Vétroz, 2 bees, Valais, Switzerland

A cheese as lush as the Crémeux deserves an equally decadent wine. Made from the local Amigné grape, the sweetness level of the wine is charmingly notated by bees. Two bees means between nine to twenty-five grams per liter residual sugar, so just slightly off-dry. With a ton of floral and stone fruit aromas, it contrasts the earthy sweetness of the cheese.

Urban Germanier first started making wine in Balavaud in 1896, and today Jean-René Germanier and his nephew, Gilles Besse, are the third and fourth generation to maintain the estate. Everything made at the winery follows traditional methods, while integrating modern technology. They are environmentally conscious and work closely with small growers to maintain the highest quality. Vétroz is a grand cru of the Valais that’s full of calcaire and schist; it’s also arguably the most important vineyard in the region.

The Amigné tastes like a saffron-infused honey pot, and with a silky and rich texture, coils perfectly around the creamy and decadent Kaltbach cheese.

Tête de Moine + Jean-René Germanier, Petite Arvine, Valais, Switzerland

From the same producer as the Amigné, comes the Valais specialty of Petite Arvine. Named after the nearby Arve river, the grape is chock full of notes of grapefruit, wisteria, and rhubarb. The Germanier Petite Arvine has a rich and concentrated mid-palate but with refreshing acidity, it manages to also be equally refreshing.

With such a Valisian specialty, an equally valuable cheese should be served. The Tête de Moine, once considered so valuable that farmers would use it as currency to pay landowners, is incredibly unique. Pared with a girolle, a tool that helps aerate the cheese, little rosettes of this cheese are both funky and sweet. The highly aromatic cheese is the perfect tangy accompaniment to the powerful Petite Arvine, together it is a parade of zesty extremes.

Appenzeller + Louis Bovard, Dezaléy, Chasselas, Grand Cru, Lavaux, Vaud, Switzerland

On the shores of Lac Léman (Geneva), lies the Grand Cru of Dézaley. The hill is mostly planted to Chasselas and is probably the world’s most ideal place for the grape as the clay soils retain rainwater before it can run down the slopes, and the sun grills the vines to create a generous style of wine. The lake also moderates the climate, lending a long maturation period with no frosts and moderate summers.

The quintessential Swiss grape, Chasselas is considered by many as ‘neutral,’ almost like a glass of cool water. A sip of the Bovard Chasselas might prove otherwise, as it is often considered the country’s best example of the grape.

Louis is the 10th generation of Bovards and currently owns 16 hectares—70% of which are dedicated to Chasselas. He also has one of the oddest wine labels in Switzerland: At first glance, one might think it boasts a strange man dressed in a wild, cheetah-print dress. But no, instead it is an image of Albert Bovard, who was cast as Bacchus at the 1905 winegrower’s festival in Vevey… today, the image remains an icon in the Vaud.

With the iconic wine, a similarly iconic cheese is only fitting. Appenzeller is both crunchy, savory, and spicy. The secret recipe of over 700 years yields a cult classic. The wheels are washed with a mixture of herbs, cider, flowers, and wine, adding local herbaceous aromatics to the final product. With notes of grasses, tea, ginger, and cloves, the Chasselas from Bovard helps clean up the palate, leaving you ready for more.

Victoria James is the Beverage Director at Cote Korean Steakhouse. She has worked in restaurants since she was thir­teen. She fell in love with wine and when she was twenty-one and became certified as a sommelier. She has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City including Marea and Aureole. Victoria’s name has appeared on many no­table lists: Forbes “30 Under 30,” Food & Wine’s “2018 Sommelier of the Year,” Zagat’s “30 Under 30,” Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40,” Wine & Spirits’ “Best New Sommeliers,” and The Back Label declared her “New York’s Youngest Sommelier.” She is also the author of DRINK PINK, A Celebration of Rosé (May 2nd, 2017, HarperCollins) and a contributor to Cosmopolitan, Munchies and The Daily Meal. In her free time, she makes Amaro from foraged plants.

March 20, 2018

What is Raclette?

You’ve probably seen those mesmerizing Instagram videos of gooey, melted cheese being scraped over a delicious plate of food (Exhibit A) and thought to yourself, “What is this magical cheesy creation?” The answer? Raclette – the traditional Swiss melting cheese.

Raclette comes from the French word that means “to scrape” and refers to both the type of cheese and the traditional Swiss dish it is served with. Cheese legend says the dish originated hundreds of years ago when farmers would heat up a piece of cheese over the open fire for a hearty and filling meal.

Popular since the Middle Ages, Raclette is still produced with milk from cows that are fed fresh grass in the summer and meadow hay in the winter, resulting in an aromatic cheese ranging in flavor from mild and milky to piquant, depending on the wheel. Typically, it is melted either in a Raclette Grill or using a professional melter and then poured or scraped onto each individual dish. Looking to try it at home? You can buy mini grills like this outdoor grill-ready Barbeclette, Partyclette or Mini Grill Set. Or, simply slice it or grate it and melt it like you would any other cheese. Any way you melt it, it is the quintessential cheese for sharing.

Raclette is particularly delicious over roasted potatoes and root vegetables, pickles, and cured meats, such as prosciutto. For a rich and satisfying dish, give our Raclette Tartiflette a try. Pair it with a Riesling or any dry white wine.

Learn more about Emmi Raclette.

February 26, 2018

Fondue Party Tips

By: Jennifer Farley, Savory Simple

Melted cheese is one of life’s great joys, and there’s no better way to appreciate it than with a classic cheese fondue. Hosting the perfect party, regardless of the theme, is all about being prepared. A fondue party is no different! Getting organized, buying groceries, and cleaning in advance will help keep you focused and ready for a good time.

A fondue party at home more fun than a traditional restaurant, and that’s exactly why hosting a fondue party is such a good idea. It’s fun, sometimes humorous, and always a tasty crowd pleaser!

Making your own fondue for your party can be easy and you should consider this easy cheese fondue recipe as a baseline you can potentially build from. Emmentaler AOP® and Le Gruyére cheeses are so harmonious together; you get a balance of sweetness, acidity, nuttiness, and earthiness all in one. They blend beautifully together and aren’t overpowered by the additions of white wine, lemon juice, pepper, and nutmeg.

Here are some tips for hosting a great fondue party:

  • If your fondue pot uses gel cans, have extras on hand! You don’t want to run out of fuel mid-party.
  • If you’re serving more than four people, plan on having at least two fondue pots. You don’t want to keep guests hungry, and it will be more fun if everyone can have access to the fondue pot at once.
  • Along those lines, if you’re thinking about serving meat dippers, be mindful about whether any of your guests are vegetarian. If so, you’ll definitely want to keep one of the fondue pots meat-free.
  • Beer and wine go very well with cheese fondue! I recommend asking for recommendations at your neighborhood liquor store, as the best options can vary by location.
  • If you’d prefer not to make cheese fondue from scratch, that’s ok! We offer a fantastic ready-to-serve Fondue.
  • Make sure that all of your dippers are small enough to fit on the skewing forks without being pulled off by the weight of the gooey fondue. When it doubt, go smaller.
  • Apples and pears can oxidize once you slice them, which means the fruit will slowly turn brown once exposed to air. You can slow this process by tossing the slices in a bit of fresh lemon juice.
  • Frequently stir the fondue while enjoying it. This will help keep the cheese from separating or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Most importantly- have fun!

Get Jennifer’s recipe for Easy Cheese Fondue.

Whether you’re cheering on your favorite team or just watching for the commercials, the last football game of the year is exciting. And big celebrations call for great food, fit to sit out for 3 hours and feed a crowd. Fondue is the perfect solution. This historically “fancy” appetizer is really just a bowl of melted cheese, so bubble some up and serve it through the fourth quarter!

Cheese Fondue

Fondue can come in a lot of different ways, from homemade to convenient ready-to-serve options, like Emmi Fondu. All you need is a nutty, alpine-style cheese like Gruyère and soft melty cheeses like Swiss Emmentaler and Appenzeller, cornstarch or flour, cloves, white wine and lemon juice. Traditional Swiss fondue is also made with, kirsch, a clear, colorless fruit brandy. Trust us, you’re going to want to use this!

Cheese Fondue

Now on to the dippers. They can make or break a good fondue experience, so choose them carefully to match the event. When you’re having fondue for game day, you have a little more flexibilty to be fund and creative with your dippers. Here are some ideas that will make you want to dip everything in melted cheese:

  • Potato Chips
  • Soft or hard pretzels
  • Ham, Turkey or Beef
  • Tortilla chips
  • Fritos
  • Raw veggies
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Beef Sticks
  • Hot Dogs
  • Kielbasa
  • Pepperoni
  • Meatballs
  • Shrimp
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Pearl onions

The holidays are the perfect time to pair Emmi cheeses with your favorite winter cocktails. Here are four of our favorite pairings for the season.

Emmi Appenzeller + Christmas Mule
Each wheel of Appenzeller is washed with a secret herbal brine infused with wine, cider and a mixture of herbs, blossoms, and other natural ingredients. All of which adds a complex flavor that connoisseurs desire. Appenzeller is noted for its nutty flavor combined with an herbal spiciness, and pairs perfectly with the ginger and fruit flavors in a Christmas Mule – everyone’s favorite spin on a Moscow Mule, made with cherry vodka. We love this version.

Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP  + Hot Toddy
Cave-aged Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP is aged for more than 1 year, making it robust and flavorful enough to stand up to a strong liquor like whiskey. The honey and cloves in a seasonal Hot Toddy add flavor balance and highlights the earthy nuttiness of the cheese. We used our favorite Bourbon Whiskey from our friends at Koval Distillery in Chicago.

Find Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP near you.

Emmi Emmentaler + Pomegranate Sparkler
Emmentaler has a nutty flavor with slight acidity and just a hint of herbs. In a Pomegranate Sparkler, brandy and sparkling wine balance each other to not overpower the cheese. It’s the perfect sparkling, yet sophisticated flavor combination.

Find Emmentaler near you.

Emmi Le Gruyère AOP + Cranberry-Orange Punch
Le Gruyère AOP is as traditional as you grandmother’s Fizzy Cranberry-Orange Punch you’ve always wanted to ladle into a small plastic cup of your own during holiday celebrations. The cheese has a mild, yet complex flavor of fruit and spice that’s highlighted beautifully by the fizzy, sweet-tart flavor of the punch.

Find Le Gruyère AOP near you.

Cider is definitely having a moment, so the only thing we could think of to do is collaborate with Dan Pucci, the cider director for Wassail in NYC to develop cheese and cider pairings perfect for the harvest season. He paired six of his favorite ciders with three Emmi cheeses and wrote this guest post to tell about it.

(P.S. Scroll down to enter to win one of these cheese and cider pairings! Must be a U.S. resident and 21+ to enter. Void where prohibited.)

By: Dan Pucci, Cider Director, Wassail NYC

When thinking about pairing beverages with food, cheese is the first thing that comes to mind.

The infinite possibilities of simply milk, rennet, enzymes, and salt are matched only by those of fruit namely apples and grapes. The wonders of fermentation convert milk and fruits into some of the most lauded consumables.

Volumes have been written about the virtues of wine pairings but cider, in its tardy rise to prominence, has been overlooked in its role at the table. To quote a friend “cider is quiet”, its presence at the table is more subtle and subdued, rarely overwhelming its accompaniments. This makes cider an excellent partner for cheese, it lets the cheese shine without trying to steal the spotlight, while still holding its own and improving the sensory experience. Excellent pairings have the ability to elevate foods beyond the sum of their parts. I always think of it being 1+1 =3. These transformative experiences are very memorable and stay with you long after the labels have faded.

Cider is a particularly excellent pairing for alpine-style cheeses. These cheeses have loads of texture a unique flavor of butter, nuts, and fruit that can be easily lost to riper wines or hoppy beer. This marriage of flavors is similar to those found in excellent ciders especially those made with bittersweet and bittersharp apples. Bittersweet and bittersharp apples are a category of apples whose origin lies in the traditional cider regions of Western Europe. Apples like Yarlington Mill, Dabinett and Kingston Black produce ciders of concentrated texture, loads of tannin, with distinctive fruit aromas and flavors that we aren’t commonly found in the modern shiny grocery store apples of today. Ciders made from these apples have a tannin and acid backbone to accompany multitudes of flavors and smells. These ciders with their delicate concentration and firm but refreshing palette make them the ideal match for this delicate family of cheeses.

Appenzeller
Emmi Appenzeller is a gentle cheese with a great springy texture filed with grassy notes. This cheese packs a punch of ginger and cardamom while remarkably clean on the palette and in the finish. It is washed in cider and wine which leaves the rind remarkably fruity – leading the cheese down this appley, green plum path which could be easily overwhelmed with the wrong accompaniment. I think that the ideal cider here will share in those gentle but spiced flavors while not being lost against the fats of the cheese.

    • Cider Pairing: Eve’s Northern Spy, 2015, Finger Lakes New York. This cider is made from estate grown Northern Spy, a 19th-century American heirloom apple. It is a brisk cider that has a ton of orchard fruit character along with all these light herbal notes like chervil, parsley, and thyme. The fresh Northern Spy character is carried through fermentation the same way the lush grassy of Appenzell maintains through the milk. It undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle which is then disgorged, removing all of the yeast solids. This classic method (or champagne method) ensures for a persistent, mouth-filling and long-lasting bubble that balances rich cheeses. This pairing is all about balance, similar flavors, texture, and weight. The classic meeting of complex and subtle flavors that harmonize rather than compete.
    • Cider Pairing: Snowdrift Red, East Wenatchee, WA . Located in the center of apple growing in the United States, Tim Larsen at Snowdrift has slowly converted his family’s conventional orchard towards cider making. Their Red Cider is easily one of the most distinctive ciders in North America. It is mostly made from an unnamed red-fleshed single variety originating in Kazakhstan. The cider is brilliant crimson in the glass and the nose is dominated by cranberries, tart cherries, and currants. The red flavors and slight sweetness offer a contrast in flavors to the cheese rather than matching them. Like the Northern Spy, it is focused more on acid than tannin so it will not overwhelm the delicate nature of the cheese. Snowdrift Red has a great crunchy berry quality that matches great against the chewy and creamy texture of the cheese. This cider is a nice contrast in flavors and takes the place of strawberry or cherry, which might be the ideal partners for the cheese while remaining dry and earthy.

 

Kaltbach™ Le Gruyère® AOP
This cheese combines the grassy alpine valleys with a woodsy mushroom quality from over a year in a limestone cave aging deep below the surface. This full-flavored cheese leans more toward the cashew, almond end of the spectrum while having an intense dried pineapple and tropical fruit undertones. Through all the complexities of flavors and texture, the cheese remains balanced. The proper cider pairing will need to be able to hold up to those savory tones without masking them while being able to overcome that creamy, firm texture.

    • Cider Pairing: Farnum Hill Kingston Black, New Hampshire. This is a landmark cider marker who helped introduce bittersweet and bittersharp apples to American cider. Their rocky orchard in Western New Hampshire has helped define modern fine cider in America. This cider is made from solely from the noble bittersharp Kingston Black apple, a classic of the West Counties of England and one of the few cider apples that is traditionally being made as a single variety cider. The cider is rich and texture driven with a waxy roasted pineapple undertone. It shares many of the same flavors in common with the Kaltbach Gruyère, while the tannin and acid backbone of the cider keeps you refreshed and ready for another bite. This pairing emphasizes the tropical and weighty fruit of Kaltbach Gruyère while matching the earthy complexities and the weight of the cheese.
    • Cider Pairing: Tilted Shed Graviva 2015, Sonoma County, CA. Before Sonoma County was wine country it was home to the Gravenstein apple. Its Central European Native was brought to California by early European settlers and traders. This multi-use apple was mostly used for a wide range of purposes from juice, pies, snacks even cider. This cider is an homage to that apple’s past and is made from mostly Gravenstein blend with Nehou, Wickson and a number of other cider apples. Its earthy profile is a departure from the woodsy mushrooms found in the Farnum Hill and instead focuses on herbs de Provence and brush that is familiar to Coastal Northern California. The golden ripe fruit has been replaced with gooseberries and dried plums. This cider has remarkably high acid that keeps the weighty cider from feeling heavy on the palette. With the Gruyère the cider emphasis earthy dried undertones and bringing forward the nutty curried cashew note. This pairing looks to highlight the nutty and herbal notes of the cheese and balance the cheese with acid rather than tannin.

 

Der scharfe Maxx
This washed-rind cheese is complex, savory, fruity and downright funky. The cheese starts with a preserved nectarine, roasted squash, dried herbal thing which quickly gives way to meaty, shiitake and barnyard. This cheese has that classic alpine texture, chewy but creamy, firm but delicate. It is amazing how concentrated the flavor is on the tongue while not being over the top. Funky and wild but with a pedigree and style.

    • Cider Pairing: Eden Dry, Vermont. This is a very unique cider that is made from concentrated heirloom apples that are barrel aged for almost a year before they are blended with Kingston Black. The result is a very full-bodied cider loaded with ripe to overripe tropical fruit, dried peaches, and log cabin. This cider can easily match the intensity of the Der scharfe Maxx, while allowing the subtle fruits of the cheese to shine. With 9.5% alcohol, it is higher in alcohol than every other pairing, but that only helps it match the high butter fats and chew of the cheese. This pairing matches the fruit and weight of the cheese, while keeping the funk in line. Their concentrations are matched only by their complexities.
    • Cider Pairing: EZ Orchards Poire Salem, OR. This cider is actually a perry which means that is it made from Forelle, Comice and Bosc pears. This slightly sweet cider brings all these melon, celery and tarragon flavors to the glass, which is a real departure from cider norms. Pears contain sorbitol which makes the cider natural, sweet and full of body. The honeyed mid-palate of ripe fruits and sugar with a slightly buttery finish is the perfect partner to this cheese. The golden warm ripe of the cider brings forward the pineapple and melons of the cheese. This pairing brings a balance of sweetness to the center and emphasizes those unusual fruits. The honey nature of the cider brings forward the sweet funk of the cheese.

 

 

ENTER TO WIN!

Enter to win a cheese and cider pairing! Three lucky winners will each win one of these pairings. Enter below!

Winners will be selected on Monday, November 27.
Each winner will receive 1 lb of Emmi cheese and 1 bottle of cider, selected by Emmi USA.
Must be a U.S. resident and 21+ to enter. Void where prohibited.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Offer only applies to residents of AK, AZ, CO, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NH, NM, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, WV, MY, CA. Offer is void where prohibited

There’s just something so comforting about a cheeseboard at the center of your holiday gathering, filled with rich flavors and adorned with seasonal accompaniments. Plus, it’s the perfect way to easily satisfy family and friends while Thanksgiving or holiday meals take up space in your oven. As you gear up for this time of year, we’re here to offer suggestions for the best holiday cheeses and how to arrange them on a cheeseboard that friends with think you picked up from your local cheesemonger.

First and foremost, ALWAYS start by choosing your cheese. This time of year, we love to select an array of cheeses with deep, complex flavors that can stand up to red wines, strong spirits, and hearty accompaniments.

Our favorite cheeses for the holidays are Kaltbach cheeses from Switzerland. These cave-aged cheeses spend extra time in the 22 million-year-old Kaltbach Cave for a deep, complex flavor not found anywhere else in the world. Choose from traditional Kaltbach Cave-aged Le Gruyére AOP or Emmentaler AOP or new Kaltbach Le Crémeux, a creamy new alpine-style cheese from the cave with flavors so complex, yet mild you’ll spend the night eating the entire wedge.

Here’s a look inside the cave:

Next, choose seasonal pairings like figs, dates, cranberry jams, comforting crusty bread, cured meats, honey, olives and spiced pecans.

Finally, provide an array of red wines and dark or amber beer to bring out the flavors of the cheese.

Find Kaltbach cheeses near you.

Kaltbach Le Crémeux is one of our favorite new cheeses. Le Crèmeux is a smear-ripened cheese produced exclusively at the Emmi cheese facility in Emmen and then aged for 4-5 months in the Kaltbach Cave. The 22 million-year-old Kaltbach Cave provides a distinctive setting for the cheese to age and develops a unique flavor unlike anywhere else in the world.

Kaltbach Le Crèmeux is a very approachable semi-soft cheese with a melt-in-your-mouth, custard-like consistency. You’ll taste a strong, caramelized butter flavor on the front and a hearty finish reminiscent of a chicken stock.

Due to its approachability, this mild, yet flavorful cheese, is perfect on a cheeseboard.

Pair with:

pomegranate seeds
pineapple
wheat crackers
roasted or spiced nuts
caramel corn
raspberries
olives
blackberries
pineapple
white wine

Learn more about Kaltbach Le Crèmeux.