The king of Swiss cheese This celebrated cheese takes its name from the valley (“Tal”) of the river Emme in the canton of Bern, where production of the cheese can be traced back to the 13th century. Emmentaler AOP is made from fresh untreated milk from cows fed on grass and hay but not silage. It takes about 12 litres of milk to make one kilo of cheese. The use of any additives is prohibited, as is the use of genetically modified ingredients.
The characteristic holesThe wheels have a diameter of 80 to 100 cm (32 to 40 inches), and weigh between 75 and 100 kg (165 and 220 pounds). Tradition and outstanding quality have resulted in Emmentaler AOP being acknowledged as the undisputed “King of cheese” throughout the world. The holes readily distinguish Emmentaler AOP from all other cheeses. These appear during the fermentation process, and vary in size from that of a cherry to that of a walnut.
The all-important dairy mark of authenticityThe characteristic flavour of a young Emmentaler AOP, aged for at least four months, is mild with hints of hazelnut. When fully aged after 12 months or more it is strong to full-flavoured. Every authentic Emmentaler AOP has the Emmentaler AOP mark stamped on the side of the wheel as well as the reference number of the cheese dairy. The AOP label (registered designation of origin) is a guarantee of quality as well as origin.
Watch cheese being made at the dairyAt the show-dairy in Affoltern in the Emmental, there are several opportunities every day for visitors to watch how Emmentaler AOP is made, and even to make their own cheese. An audiovisual presentation explains the process in German, French, English, Italian and Spanish. With so much to see, this family-friendly attraction is popular with visitors of all ages and nationalities. The restaurant with its panoramic terrace serves hearty cheese specialities as well as regional dishes. The picturesque surroundings also offer a glorious backdrop for a great variety of walks and other excursions.
Tel. +41 (0)34 435 16 11,
The Emmental Cheese RouteSwitzerland’s first cheese route leads through the heartland of the King of Cheese. The Emmental Cheese Route focuses on the world’s favourite cheese, but also includes other aspects of local agriculture, charming country inns and other places of interest. Visitors can follow the Emmental Cheese Route on foot, by horse-drawn carriage, bike or car, or on public transport, travelling through the Emme valley at whatever pace they wish.
Tel. +41 (0)34 402 42 52,