Talented cheesemaker Walter Räss Jr. is the artisan behind this perennial shop favourite.
A second generation cheesemaker, Räss works out of the small village dairy Tufertschwil that his father purchased in 1987. For years, Kaserei Tufertschwil was known for its Appenzeller production thanks to Räss' commitment to quality; between 1990 and 2013, he was named among the top ten Appenzeller producers a stunning sixteen times.
In the early 2000s, a request from his brother-in-law to produce cheese using Jersey milk coupled with Switzerland's shifting dairy regulations led to the creation of an experimental new cheese. By raising milkfat levels, changing curd size, and washing the smaller wheels with a distinctive brine of wine and herbs, something special was born. Translating roughly as sitting in the cellar, Chällerhocker spends at least ten months being carefully turned and brined on wooden planks.
The resulting rind is a rustic ochre colour and bears the cheese's name in handsome embossing. Inside, the smooth paste offers up a silky mouthfeel with aromatic notes of roasted chestnuts and an earthy pungency. With flavours of cooked milk reminiscent of the very best alpine cheeses, Chällerhocker is equal parts briny, fruity and earthy with hints of carmelized onion, peanuts and butterscotch on the finish.
One of our cheesemonger's favourites, this alpine-style is just as delicious served on your cheeseboard with fresh bread as it is melted into pasta, fondue or baked over gratins.