Swiss Cheese Day is celebrated on January 2 every year, and we couldn’t be happier about it. This beloved smelly and holey cheese has stolen the hearts of many around the world. Swiss Cheese is a yellow, medium-hard cheese originating from around Emmental in Switzerland. Did you know that not all Swiss cheeses have holes? Since the holes in Swiss cheese are called ‘eyes,’ those without holes are ‘blind Swiss Cheese.’
History of Swiss Cheese Day
Swiss cheese as we know it was first manufactured in the 1300s in the West Central Region of Switzerland, also known as the Emmental area. This is why Swiss Cheese is also known as Emmental cheese. In fact, if you ever go to Europe and want some Swiss cheese, you’d have to ask for Emmental cheese, or you’d only get blank stares.
Since the 1300s, the Emmental area has remained great for pastures on which local farmers graze their cattle. The milk obtained from these cows is used to produce the Swiss cheese we all know and love today. Farmers in Emmental don’t keep more than 20 cows at a time so that they can take care of them more thoroughly. Over time, cheese has become synonymous with Emmental. Around the 1800s, the first Swiss cheese diaries made their way out of Switzerland and into the world. Today, Swiss cheese is available throughout the world, but the best of them can still be found in the plains of Emmental, where farmers carefully select their cows’ diet to get the best flavor of the cheese.
The origin of cheese actually predates recorded history, making it an ancient food. The earliest records of cheese-making date back to 5500 B.C. in what is now Poland. Archeologists have even found evidence of Egyptian cheese dating back to 2000 B.C. No one is sure who first thought to turn milk into cheese, but we’re certainly thankful for them. If you believe the ancient Greeks, the culture god Aristaeus was the first to discover cheese. The story goes that he learned how to make milk into cheese from some nymphs. That might explain why cheese tastes so heavenly and decadent.
Swiss Cheese Day timeline
Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella, a prominent writer of agriculture in the Roman Empire, details the cheese-making process in his book “De Re Rustica.”
Switzerland establishes the very first factory for the industrial production of cheese.
Swiss immigrants move to Wisconsin, bringing Swiss cheese with them.
The Guggisberg Cheese Company develops the variety of American Swiss cheese known as Baby Swiss.
Swiss Cheese Day FAQs
What do they call Swiss Cheese in the U.K.?
In the U.K. and most parts of Europe, cheeses are named after the region of Switzerland they come from: Appenzeller, Emmental, etc. Looking for “Swiss Cheese” in Europe is like looking for Indian food in India; you have to specify what type of Swiss cheese you mean.
What is the most popular cheese in America?
A poll of 8,000 adults in the United States revealed that the most popular cheese in America is cheddar cheese. 1 in 5 respondents said it was their favorite type of cheese. American cheese, mozzarella, and Swiss cheese placed second, third, and fourth, respectively.
Is Swiss cheese okay for babies?
While cheese is generally not great for children younger than 12 months, Swiss cheese is an exception. Most cheese varieties tend to be high in sodium, which can put babies at risk of obesity and hypertension. However, Swiss cheese naturally has low sodium, making it acceptable for children over six months.
How to Celebrate Swiss Cheese Day
Eat some original Swiss cheese
Everyone needs to taste Swiss cheese that was actually made in Switzerland at least once in their life. Travel to the Emmental region of Switzerland and get yourself a nice block of cheese.
Make something with it
There are a thousand and one things you can make with Swiss cheese, from cheese rolls to casseroles to the infamous Chicken Cordon Bleu. Fire up the heat and get the cheese melting for a tasty cheesy meal on Swiss Cheese Day.
Make some cheese
It might sound difficult, but anyone can make cheese. The most challenging ingredient to get might be the propionibacteria, but you can buy that online for less than $20. There are many cheese-making recipes you can follow to make your own creamy block of cheese.
5 Facts About Swiss Cheese
It’s a little human
The bacteria that make human beings stink up is so closely related to the bacteria responsible for stinky cheeses that some poor mosquitoes even mistake cheese for human flesh.
Larger eyes, tastier cheese
Swiss cheese with larger holes (or eyes) enjoys a more extended fermentation period, so they generally have a more pronounced flavor.
Great news for the lactose intolerant
There are some variants of Swiss Cheese, such as Emmentaler, that don’t contain any lactose.
Germans eat most of it
Germany consumes almost half of all the Swiss Cheese in the world, leaving the rest of us to battle over the remaining measly 50%.
Many choices to pick from
There are over 450 different varieties of cheese produced in Switzerland, so no matter how you like your cheese, you’re sure to find it among the Swiss.
Why We Love Swiss Cheese Day
It reminds us of our childhood
Most of us have probably heard the story about cheese from “the man in the moon.” Swiss Cheese Day reminds us of when we believed the moon was made of Swiss cheese – wouldn’t that be tasty? – because of its holes.
Swiss Cheese is 100% organic, which means it’s not just great for your taste buds, but for your body too. It contains no artificial additives, so you can be sure you’re tasting Mother Earth’s nutrients and nothing else.
Anyone can participate
It doesn’t matter where you are. You can celebrate Swiss Cheese Day as long as you have a nice creamy block of Swiss Cheese with you. Swiss Cheese certainly doesn’t discriminate – it’s food for all races and ages.
Swiss Cheese Day dates