When Swiss Cheese is Really Swiss

Swiss CheeseWhen people ask for Swiss cheese in groceries, they look for cheese with holes in them. These holes seem to proclaim the identity of the cheese with such certainty people rarely ask if the Swiss cheese they are buying is really Swiss.

Swiss Cheese in North America

In North America, Swiss cheese is a generic name for white cheese with holes. This is actually a popular imitation of Emmenthaler (or Ementaler)  Ementhal (or Emental); both are medium-hard cheeses made in Switzerland. Their flavor is generally savory rather than sharp. American made Swiss cheese, on the other hand, has a mild, almost bland flavor.

As Cook’s Info puts it, Swiss Cheese is a North American generic imitation of Emmenthal, just as Jarlsberg is a Norwegian version of Emmenthal. In the UK, and in Europe, “Swiss Cheese” has no meaning as a specific cheese. It would be like saying “1 pound of French cheese” — people would ask you which French cheese?…” [Read more…]

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