If you’re looking for the swiss delicacy Appenzeller cheese, you’re very likely about to make some fondue or a cheese snack plate. But, after a run to Trader Joe’s or your local farmer’s market, you’ve met with a terrible discovery – you can’t find any Appenzeller!
What are you to do?
Well, thankfully Appenzeller cheese can be substituted. And while there’s no cheese just like it, there’s some out there that will do in a pinch.
If you find yourself needing Appenzeller cheese but are lacking, use Gruyère. It’s not as flavorful as Appenzeller, but it has the same fruity nutty flavor profile. No matter the recipe or snack you’re trying, Gruyère will be the best substitute for Appenzeller.
However, there are a few others you could try, if you happen to be feeling a little cheese adventurous.
What is Appenzeller cheese?
Appenzeller cheese is a hard cheese made in Switzerland, in the northeast Appenzellerland region. It’s made of cow’s milk, and aged for 3 to over 6 months depending on if you want it mild, sharp, or extra sharp.
It is an herbal brine which often utilizes wine or cider. The alcohol is added to the wheel while it’s curing, which brings out so much flavor of the cheese and adds in even more. Along with adding flavor, the wine preserves the cheese and even helps in the formation of the cheese rind.
Appenzeller cheese is a world renowned flavor and often considered one of the best Swiss cheeses. The recipe for its creation has been in use for 700 years.
Where did Appenzeller cheese come from?
Appenzeller is a hard cow’s milk cheese made in the Appenzellerland regions of northeastern Switzerland. The recipe to create it has been preserved and used for over 700 years.
It is a staple in Swiss mountain cheesemaking, and is considered by many to be the best of the best.
How is Appenzeller cheese made?
In the past, the rules to make Appenzeller cheese were strict, allowing only for the use of raw milk traditionally. However in more modern times, the rules have slacked a bit and some of the dairies that produce this cheese prefer to use pasteurized milk in their processes.
Once the cheese curds are formed and cut to size, the Appenzeller is reheated to a much higher temperature to cook out more of the whey, which creates smaller curds. Those curds are pressed, while still inside the vat. This is done under the expelled whey.
After the cheese is pressed, it’s moved over to the wheel molds to be pressed further. After all this, the pressed Appenzeller cheese wheels are moved to a maturing room where they’re aged for 3-6+ months, up to 12.
A special thing about the preparation of Appenzeller, the aging cheeses are washed frequently in a mixture of wine, herbs and various spices. This helps the cheese form a rind, and has the added benefit of infusing more flavor into the cheese as it ages.
What is Appenzeller cheese used for?
Most commonly, Appenzeller cheese is used for fondue, or as a general melting cheese. It lends itself well to melting and creates a beautifully thick and creamy cheese melt.
But don’t get trapped into thinking you can only use it for melting. It has a lot of other utilities as well. Its unique flavor profile lends itself well to snacking, slicing for use with crackers or in sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese boards, shredded onto salads, and plenty more.
Any cheese lover should make time to find this delicious and special cheese.
Where can you find it?
While Appenzeller may be little-known in most of the world, it’s very easy to find. Local grocery stores may not carry it, but you can find it in places such as Whole Foods.
If you broaden your search to the internet, you have many options. You can buy directly from gourmet cheese dairies, from Amazon, anywhere they sell food-stuff should carry it.
Truly, it’s quite an easy cheese to find, even if it’s not as well known as it deserves to be.
Can it be substituted?
If you’ve searched far and wide and just can’t seem to find any of this incredible melting cheese, or you’re a little sketched out by ordering food from the internet, you’re probably wondering if Appenzeller cheese can be substituted.
While it is a very special cheese, it does have worthy substitutes you can use instead to get a similar flavor profile or melting texture, for whatever your cheesy plans may be.
Fontina Val d’Aosta D.O.P.
Fontina Val d’Aosta is a delicious velvety cheese made in Italy. It’s classically paired with Mozzarella on pizza.
The texture is solid and firm, which thankfully lends itself to a beautiful melt when heated.
The flavor is also quite similar, reminiscent of the buttery and nutty flavor of Gruyère.
If your plan for Appenzeller had anything to do with making soups, Fontina Val d’Aosta will be the perfect substitute due to its mild flavor and perfect melt.
Kerrygold Irish Dubliner
This is a mature Irish cheese with a distinct nutty yet sweet flavor.
Highly versatile, and holds its own as one of the best general-purpose cheeses available. The strong and distinct flavor and beautiful melt lends itself to recipes such as mac n cheese, cheese toasties, meat pies and shredded over a hot baked potato.
If your plan was more of a baked dish, Kerrygold is perfect for it since it melts so perfectly into a velvety creamy texture. Anything you could use Appenzeller for, you can also use Kerrygold and come out with a similar – or even better – dish.
Comte cheese is a semi-firm cheese made in France. Its texture is quite similar to Appenzeller and melts just as delectably.
Comte cheese is often considered as the French twin cheese to Gruyère, as the texture and flavor profile are quite similar.
You can use this cheese in just about any dish and it will perform as well as Appenzeller. French onion soup, fondue, sliced into sandwiches or on crackers. Comte cheese will fill any need if you can’t find Appenzeller or Gruyère.
The final cheese on this list, though not at all the least. Jarlsberg cheese is a mild-flavored Norwegian cheese. The buttery texture compliments the slightly-sweet nutty flavor of the cheese. Somewhat similar to Gruyère, but milder.
Though it works perfectly well as a substitute in any cheese related dish, the mild taste can produce a slightly less flavorful profile in some dishes.
Also, as the rind is thick and waxy, it’s going to need to be removed before using this cheese.
It melts just as well as the previously listed cheeses, however it can come out much creamier than Appenzeller or Gruyère so you’ll need to keep this in mind and adjust your recipes as needed.
While Appenzeller is a very special cheese and nearly stands in a class on its own, if you find yourself in a situation where you just can’t get your hands on any, there’s plenty of other cheeses you can try.
Gruyère, Conte, Kerrygold, any of the cheeses on this list will be guaranteed to fulfill any need you may have in the kitchen – whether you’re making a cheese charcuterie board, sandwiches, soups or fondue..