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Appenzeller cheese is a hard cow's-milk cheese produced in the Appenzell region of northeast Switzerland. A herbal brine, sometimes incorporating wine or cider, is applied to the wheels of cheese while they cure, which flavors and preserves the cheese while promoting the formation of a rind.
Appenzeller has a documented history of at least 700 years. Today, about 75 dairies produce it, each with a different recipe for their brine wash. Most of the recipes are trade secrets.
The cheese is straw-colored, with tiny holes and a golden rind. It has a strong smell and a nutty or fruity flavor, which can range from mild to tangy, depending on how long it is aged. Three types are sold:
- "Classic". Aged three to four months. The wheels are wrapped in a silver label.
- "Surchoix". Aged four to six months. Gold label.
- "Extra". Aged six months or longer. Black label.
- Official Appenzeller page
- San Francisco Chronicle, Janet Fletcher, October 21, 2004
- Description from Cheese of the Month Club
- Epicurious description