Did you know that Switzerland is home to 450 varieties of cheese. Cows milk is used for 99% of the cheese here. Which is the reason a steak costs around 50 francs. Cows don’t equal steak here. They equal Cheese. They don’t mess around when it comes to good quality cheese either. The window of opportunity to use the milk is 18 to 24 hours or it will be regarded as too old and not used. This is the reason you’ll find so many cheese makers in small villages. They’re close to their milk source so transportation time is low. Also did you know it takes 1 gallon of milk to make 1 pound of cheese? I sure didn’t. Further more did you know that Swiss cheese and Emmentaler cheese are the same thing? Yeah neither did I.
One last fun fact, I’m lactose intolerant. Yeah super awesome when you move to a country that prides itself on its dairy products.
Despite this I love cheese. I have gotten really good at figure out how to approach the lactose line without out crossing it…or pull vaulting way past it. I love me some fondue. It’s not just for the 70’s my dear readers. It’s for wonderful fall and winter nights with friends. You can buy fondue pots here like any other cookware. We have a delightful yellow one with cows and fences and other delightful Swiss stereotypes on it. Oh and then there is the other communal cheese extravaganza known as raclette. Rac-what? Oh raclette.
Known in North America as a party grill raclette rocked our ex-pat worlds. It’s a melty yummy cheese-fest. You melt your cheese in those things below and you grill whatever you like on top. It’s usually served with boiled or roasted potatoes and pickles. We cheat and usually serve it with home fries. This is also served mostly in the fall and winter. Once the cheese is melty you scrap it onto your potatoes or whatever you've grilled. It's filling. Melty. Amazing. Not something you eat every week and it’s not necessarily something you want to eat on a hot summers day…okay maybe you do. But it’s that good. It’s actually on my meal plan this week.
Oh Switzerland a cheese lovers dream and a lactose intolerant persons nightmare.