What is Swiss Cheese?

Swiss Cheese is an American Invention. It’s essentially our version of a Swiss cheese called Emmental. The cheese originally comes from the Emme valley in the canton of Bern (in Switzwerland, natch). Unlike other cheese varieties, the denomination “Emmental” is not protected by any govermental oversight or even copyrighted. So anyone can use the name Emmental and run ramshod over the recipe. Call it the “Open Source” cheese, if you will.

Case in point, the old recipe caused big holes in the cheese, but alas the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created new guidelines that regulate the hole size of domestically produced Swiss cheese. The USDA reduced the standard size of the holes by half because new cheese-slicing machinery got caught on larger holes. So we now no longer even make our version of Emmental. It’s how we think the Swiss should make their emmental.

*sigh*

Tsk tsk. There’s so much subterfuge in the cheese industry. Cheddar cheese isn’t really orange, swiss cheese isn’t really swiss. Next I’ll find out that Velveeta is really good for you.


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