Have you ever eaten a cheese with holes? Every cheese with holes was inspired by the one original Swiss cheese, called "Emmentaler", which is named after the Emmental Valley in Switzerland.
Strangely enough, this original Swiss is threatened with extinction! There is only one Emmentaler produced in the traditional way still being made and aged in the Emmental Valley. How could that be, when Swiss cheese is one of the most mass produced and eaten in America?
Emmentaler was traditionally made in huge, 200 pound wheels to be sturdy when travelling up and down the Swiss Alps. After "Swiss" cheese became popular in the United States, cheese factories started imitating the recipe to produce huge amounts of cheese cheaply. They made bland and flavorless cheeses into blocks and loaves, and called it "Swiss" because of the holes.
In recent years, cheese shops around the world have been buying entire wheels of Emmentaler, in order to preserve this cheesemaking tradition. On September 19th in the heart of the Emmental Valley in Switzerland, our Head Cheesemonger Christy selected a wheel of Emmentaler to come to New Orleans. After a long journey by boat across the Atlantic Ocean, our wheel arrived in New Orleans on November 20th. On December 2nd, join us at our Downtown location where we will be cutting open this special wheel of cheese. It's free to attend, and you'll have the opportunity to taste the best Swiss cheese of your life. For more information see the event page. #SaveTheEmmentaler!
The wheel we selected, marked with an X! Selected on September 19th, it wouldn't arrive to New Orleans until November 20th.
Inside the caves, where hundreds of wheels of Emmentaler are aging. The man at the end is washing the wheels in a brine solution, which is essential for proper aging.