Want to enjoy a beautiful holiday brunch and still sleep in? Behold the Holiday Brunch Board. A combination of your favorite Emmi cheeses, store-bought nibbles and make-ahead bites mean you can serve a gorgeous brunch without spending your morning in the kitchen.
Follow these tips to create an unforgettable spread while making it look so easy. Because it really is so easy!
1. Make a Special Flavored Cream Cheese
Take a cue from your favorite bagel shop and make your own flavored cream cheese. Our recipe for Leek and Gruyère Cream Cheese is super simple and adds a special touch to your brunch board. Prep your cream cheese a day or two in advance and allow to soften a bit before serving.
2. Turn Your Bagels into Chips
Homemade bagel chips are a special treat, and they’re so easy to prepare. Slice your favorite flavor of bagel into thin strips and lay in a single layer on a sheet pan. Brush both sides with olive oil and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through baking.
3. Dress Up Store Bought Mini Quiche
Can you think of anything more elegant than bite-sized quiche topped with rosettes of Tête De Moine cheese? Literally no one will care that you started with frozen store bought quiche. Look for Tête De Moine in your local cheese case. It can be curled into flower shapes with a traditional cheese tool called a girolle. As an alternative, you can use a vegetable peeler to shave pieces of Le Gruyère into freeform curls for topping.
4. Add More Cheese
Fill your board with slices of Emmi Le Gruyère or Emmi Emmentaler cheese. They pair well with all your favorite brunch bites and are sure to please adults and kids alike.
5. Fill with Flavorful Pairings
Try these savory brunch accompaniments to complete your board and let everyone make their perfect bites:
Medium boiled (aka jammy) eggs – boil for 8 minutes and cool in ice water before peeling
Wrapping and storing cheese at home can be a little intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be! With a little know how, you can wrap and store cheese like a pro for maximum freshness. Aged cheeses like Emmi Le Gruyère AOP or KALTBACH cave-aged cheeses can be stored for weeks under the right conditions. Follow these three tips to keep your cheese fresh and delicious.
1. Don’t Overcut
For maximum freshness, keep cheese pieces as large as possible before wrapping. This will prevent the cheese from drying out too fast. Smaller pieces will dry out more quickly.
2. Give your cheese room to breathe
Professional cheese paper is designed to protect cheese while storing it in the refrigerator and regulate humidity. Cheese needs to “breathe” a little bit to prevent mold growth, but too much air and it will dry out. To mimic professional cheese paper at home, wrap the cheese first in parchment or wax paper. Follow with a layer of plastic wrap. This double layer allows the cheese to breathe and stay fresh.
3. Store in the Right Spot
Store wrapped cheese in a vegetable drawer or lower shelf of your refrigerator where the temperature is consistent and not too cold.
Now you are ready to wrap and store cheese like a pro!
A cheese board is the perfect no-cook dinner. It’s great for those hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven, or for movie and game nights at home. Follow these three tips for an easy no-cook cheese board dinner that’s ready in a snap!
1. Choose cheeses that play well with others
Gruyère and Emmentaler are wonderfully versatile. They also pair nicely with a wide range of beverages – wine, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options.
2. Create one composed bite
A perfectly paired bite adds a special touch to your cheese board. Try prosciutto-wrapped Emmentaler and apple slices for a special touch that’s packed with flavor. Experiment with your favorite accompaniments to create your own bite. Crackers and dried fruit slices make a great base for adding slices of cheese and preserves, chutneys, pickles or charcuterie.
3. Dress up your popcorn
Who doesn’t love snacking on a bowl, especially with a few flavorful add-ins. Toss the popcorn with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt. Top with shredded Gruyère cheese and black pepper. Rosemary or thyme are a great addition if you have them.
Emmi signature ready-to-serve Fondü is now creamier than ever. It heats up in minutes and is wonderful for dipping all sorts of accompaniments. Fondü is also one of our favorite secret weapons in the kitchen. Ready in minutes, it’s the low-key star of this DIY polenta party for a crowd with quick sautéed greens, roasted mushrooms and beets, and an oven polenta recipe so easy you’ll never make it any other way. As you may have guessed, it all gets topped with creamy, cheesy Fondü.
The best part of this DIY polenta bar is how quickly it all comes together to feed a crowd. The polenta method is key to keeping your party prep stress free. We’re big fans of the set-it-and-forget-it ease of baked polenta. No need for constant stirring and the texture is just right. We’re honestly not sure why we ever made polenta any other way.
You’ll need a casserole dish or Dutch oven (should hold at least 8 cups). In your baking dish, combine 4 cups water with 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal and a big pinch of salt. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring in a couple tablespoons of butter or olive oil in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. That’s it! Perfect polenta is served.
The toppings for this laid back party should be equally unfussy. We opted for quick sautéed greens (with lots of garlic), and roasted mushrooms and golden beets. Practically any roasted vegetable would be fantastic. A slow-cooked meat – chicken, beef or pork – would make an excellent addition, as well.
Emmi Fondü serves as a decadent cheese sauce with party-worthy flavor appeal. Heat in a saucepan, stirring frequently, until smooth. Reduce heat to the lowest setting to keep warm, stirring often. For this casual polenta party, we’re happy to let everyone serve themselves in the kitchen, keeping everything warm on the stove. If you’re setting up a buffet elsewhere, a fondue pot will come in handy.
The best part is that this casually elegant spread requires very little prep, letting you spend as much quality time as possible with your guests. Cheers to that!
When the holidays roll around, I’m always excited for all the extra baking. The most exciting part for me is to be able to share special recipes with family and friends — I love to indulge with truly decadent recipes at this time of year. I’m always looking to wow with a few special dishes: a holiday breakfast, a decadent dessert that’s full of surprises, and of course — something delicious to gift to others. This year, I turned to Emmi cheeses for all three of these needs.
First up, a breakfast dish. Since I spend most of the year away from my immediate family, I love to prepare a leisurely breakfast for them when I visit for the holidays. This year, I opted for a totally over-the-top stuffed French toast: thick layers of brioche stuffed with sautéed spiced pears and thick slices of one of my favorite cheeses of all time: gooey, melty Raclette. After stuffing the slices of bread to the brim with filling, I dip them in a classic custard, sweetened with maple syrup, and cook them until golden brown on a hot griddle. You can hold them in a 300 degree oven, tented with foil, to keep them warm if you’re cooking for a crowd. The finished dish is the perfect combination of sweet and savory, fruity and creamy, rich and filling. It’s a perfect and impressive way to start off a holiday morning!
While I’m on the subject of how much I love Raclette, let’s talk about all the amazing things it can do. It’s so buttery and creamy, it can actually almost serve as a substitute for them in some recipes, like caramel sauce. Yes, you heard me right — you can melt Raclette into a golden caramel sauce and it adds an incredible depth of flavor: a slight nuttiness, and a deeply delicious taste I’ve become obsessed with! It’s good on everything from ice cream to cakes, but I especially love it drizzled over fruity pastries, such as my Citrus Skillet Danish. Start by par-baking a layer of puff pastry in a cast iron skillet. Then, a layer of delicious almond cream is spread on top, and finally an assortment of sliced citrus — I used mandarin oranges, oranges, and grapefruit — but really any citrus will work beautifully! The finished pastry has a crisp crust, a creamy filling, and bright citrus flavors, all of which are amplified with a drizzle of the gooey cheese caramel. A wonderful, surprising dessert to bring to any holiday soirée.
But most of the baking I’ll do this holiday season is meant for gifting, and this year I wanted to do a twist on a classic. I took my favorite Panettone recipe — traditionally a sweet holiday bread from Italy, loaded with inclusions like dried fruit, chocolate, and nuts — and made it savory instead. The soft, buttery dough is studded with chunks of dried sausage, toasty pecans, chewy dried apples, and chunks of Kaltbach Gruyére. The result is a beautiful loaf worthy of gifting, but the smell it infuses your kitchen with while it’s baked is like a bonus gift for the baker!
No matter what your holiday baking needs are this year, be they sweet or savory (or a combo of both!), there are so many fun and creative ways to incorporate one of my favorite ingredients of all time: cheese! I especially love the versatility, flavor, and meltability of the flavorful Alpine cheeses from Emmi, and can’t wait to whip up these recipes for my hungry family this season.
Interested in making some of these delicious holiday treats? See below for recipes.
Good things do indeed come to those who wait. After at least one year aging under the watchful café of the Kaltbach Master Affineur in the legendary caves, Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP makes its way onto tables around the world. With its flavors of dried stone fruit, spice, black tea and hazelnuts, it’s the perfect cheese to feature on a holiday cheese board.
Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP lends itself beautifully to both sweet and savory pairings, as well as a festive holiday punch (read on for the recipe).
It’s hard to go wrong sweet pairings to accentuate this versatile cheese that delights a wide range of palates. Choose a selection of accompaniments that add color as well as complementary flavors to your cheese board. For the holidays, we reach for deeply colored black grapes, fresh persimmons whenever they’re available, dried figs and a beautifully made jam. Cherry jam is a wonderful complement to the cheese, and if golden plum jam is available in your market, it makes for an extra special holiday treat. Finish your sweet pairings with a cookie – it is the holidays, after all! Ginger snaps, almond cookies or cranberry biscotti are all great choices.
On the savory side, there are many great options, as well. Hearty, rustic bread is a must, as are briny, buttery olives. Charcuterie is another wonderful pair with many possibilities. For our holiday board, we chose double smoked Canadian bacon (ham works wonderfully, too) and peppery soppressata.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a cup of cheer, so don’t forget to include a festive beverage pairing or two. If you’re serving wine, choose a Cabernet Franc, red or white Burgundy, Grenache or Syrah to complement the Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP cheese. Single malt Scotch also highlights the flavors of the cheese quite nicely. If a holiday punch is more your style, we have just the recipe to accentuate your beautiful cheese board, made with sparkling pear cider, ginger kombucha, port wine and club soda. Get the recipe below.
For something non-alcoholic, ginger kombucha and non-alcoholic pear cider are both great options. Whatever your beverage of choice, raise a glass to friends, family and good food, and have a wonderful holiday season!
Ginger Pear & Port Punch
1 bottle (750 ml) ruby port wine 1 bottle (16 ounces) ginger kombucha 1 bottle (750 ml) pear cider 1 pear, sliced 1 liter club soda 1 cup frozen cranberries (optional)
In punch bowl, combine port wine, kombucha and pear cider; mix. Top with ice and club soda to taste. Garnish with sliced pears and frozen cranberries.
It will come as no surprise that our dinner parties are usually centered around cheese. Whether we’re warming up pots of Fondü for dipping, firing up the Raclette grill or setting out bountiful cheese boards for nibbling, the cheese is always center stage. That’s enough to ensure plenty of prompt “yes” RSVPs, but once the party arrives, we want to make it an extra special experience for our guests. A few small touches help keep good energy and leave a lasting impression long after the last piece of cheese has been devoured.
1. Change Your Perspective As long as the weather possibly allows, we’re throwing parties al fresco — bundling up in sweaters and blankets, and cozying up by the fire. Whether you’re indoors or out, you can create a totally new environment simply by changing your table height. And no, we don’t mean making permanent changes to your furniture. You can create a custom low “table” with a piece of wood or tabletop surface, and cinder blocks. Layer a few tablecloths or throws over top for a more boho feel (or to hide a less-than-charming surface). For seating, think pillows and cushions. Get creative and cozy!
2. Stretch Your Flowers A couple pots of mums are easy to find and inexpensive throughout the fall season. Snip off a few bunches to fill small jars and tabletop vases. Place a flower on each place setting. Wrap up small bundles with parchment paper, and secure with twine for sweet little takeaway bouquets. Use whatever is leftover to fill your prettiest pots around the table.
3. Go Monotone Pick a neutral color palette for your table to ensure the food and florals really pop. Here, we’ve chosen warm tones of brown and gold to complement the dark wood table.
4. Raid the Olive Bar A plethora of cheese-friendly accompaniments can be found on the olive bar at nearly every grocery store these days. Take full advantage to create bountiful cheese boards with minimal effort. Be sure to look for items in a variety of colors to add visual interest.
5. Get Everyone Involved A dinner party centered around cheese is enough to make your guests giddy with excitement, but keep them involved throughout the night. A wheel of Tête de Moine adds extra excitement to the table. We love watching guests’ faces light up as they spin the girolle, a tool that curls the cheese into petal-shaped pieces. With other cheeses, keep large wedges on-hand for cutting throughout the night, so guests can see and feel the rinds as they slice off a piece. Of course, fondue and Raclette are wonderfully interactive as well, and our Emmi Fondü is easy to heat and serve.
When we think of campfire foods, fondue might not immediately come to mind but, in fact, the campfire is where fondue as we know it was invented. Decades ago, an Alpine herdsman grew tired of his regular dinner and, in a stroke of ingenuity, melted wine and cheese together over the fire and ate it with crusty bread.
Ready to serve and conveniently packaged, Emmi Fondü is an excellent camping companion. Simply empty the packet of Fondü into a campfire-safe pot (enamel camping cookware or cast iron are great) and heat over the fire. In minutes, you’ll have smooth, creamy fondue for dipping bread, fruit and any combination of grilled meats and vegetables.
This fall, we set up camp and brought along the last of the summer tomatoes and peppers, hearty greens like broccolini and kale. They all got a good drizzle of olive oil and went right onto a cooking grate over the fire with a big porterhouse steak that fed our entire crew.
While our Fondü is wonderful for traditional dipping, it also makes a fabulous cheese sauce. We generously drizzled it over the grilled steak and vegetables, topped off everyone’s wine glasses and sat back to enjoy our simply prepared meal over great conversation and many laughs. After all, isn’t that what’s so wonderful about camping in the first place? Slowing down, coming together and enjoying the great outdoors.
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.
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.